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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 05/2015
  • 9780692445532
  • 336 pages
  • $27.95
Jazz: America's Gift: From Its Birth to George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue & Beyond

Adult; Other Nonfiction; (Market)

Jazz: America's Gift: From Its Birth to George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue & Beyond is the perfect marriage between Miguel Covarrubias's artwork and the colorful history of the Jazz Age. The interplay of Gerber's words and Covarrubias's images gives each page a rhythm all its own. . . . Who could ask for anything more? Music is both a unifying force and a deeply personal expression of the self. Over the millennia, melody and lyrics have served as a multilayered mode of storytelling and expression of joy, sorrow, and hope. For America, no other musical style is quite so adept at this than jazz. Jazz: America’s Gift delves into the rich and storied history of American jazz–from its roots in early American folk song and the blues into the sound and splendor of the Jazz Age. Not just another history book, Jazz: America’s Gift is a unique and engaging exploration of the musical styles, traditions, innovations, and incredible talents that shaped jazz, and exposes how jazz itself shaped America’s history, bringing the country closer together. George Gershwin Embodies the Mood and Music of the Jazz Age No figure embodies the mood and music of this time like George Gershwin, a Jewish­ American musical dynamo whose Rhapsody in Blue would become one of the most widely known compositions to come out of this time. Using song titles as markers along the path of Gershwin’s life, author Richie Gerber tells the evocative, often joyous, and sometimes heart-wrenching story of this often misunderstood genius. Gershwin’s life story is elegantly framed within the larger narrative of the rise of jazz music, with an attention to detail that makes the words leap off the page and music sound in your ears.
Reviews
Gerber, a musician and former organic food businessman, bolsters this book of historic facts and figures about jazz with a fairly complete survey of its origins in slave songs, spirituals, minstrel shows, and Storyville flesh dens, as well as a chronicle of the rise of New Orleans trumpeter Louis Armstrong. The author links the raw power of jazz and the blues to the country’s past of prejudice and racism and scores points with his bold commentary about the complicated political and cultural relationships between Jewish and black communities with regard to jazz. Gerber does well with the life of musical genius George Gershwin, a Brooklyn son of Russian Jews who rose from Tin Pan Alley to produce such startling masterpieces as “Porgy and Bess” and “Rhapsody in Blue.” He mostly keeps the text on point, but occasionally strays to insert personal asides about his own experiences as a Jewish American. Gerber’s deft, energetic examination of Gershwin’s music only illuminates the enormous Jewish contribution to the great American musical export, jazz. Artist Miguel Covarrubias provides illustrations throughout. (BookLife)
Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews Jazz America’s Gift

 “Rather than taking a dry, academic approach to the subject, Gerber, a musician and natural foods entrepreneur, writes in a conversational, lively, and witty style . . . ” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)

“[Gerber] unearths some interesting facts, such as shared cultural experiences of African-Americans and Jews: he notes that African-American singers such as Billie Holliday and Alberta Hunter recorded Jewish songs, and that Louis Armstrong so admired Jewish people that he wore a Star of David around his neck.” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review) 

“Using a variety of bibliographical sources, Gerber paints a vivid picture of jazz’s roots in slaves’ spirituals and minstrel shows; the music’s popularity in the Storyville section of New Orleans; and the emergence of Louis Armstrong.” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)

“[Gerber] makes a strong, enthusiastic case for Gershwin’s contributions to jazz, something that many jazz historians, according to the author, don’t often acknowledge (“As far as George Gershwin goes—jazz can’t live with him and jazz can’t live without him!”).” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review) 

“It’s interesting to learn that Gershwin’s folk opera, Porgy and Bess, was initially a financial failure, and Gerber also delves into other aspects of Gershwin’s life, including his dietary habits, his relationships with women, and his love for fine art” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review) 

” . . . Covarrubias’ vibrant illustrations really enhance the text.” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review) 

“A lively . . . overview of jazz’s origins.” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review) 

The Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch Reviews JAZZ: America's Gift

Exceptionally well written . . .” — Midwest Book Review

“Thoroughly ‘reader-friendly’ . . .” — Midwest Book Review

“A must for all Jazz enthusiasts . . .” — Midwest Book Review

“Very highly recommended . . .” — Midwest Book Review

“Rewarding reading.” — Midwest Book Review

“Impressively informed and informative . . .” — Midwest Book Review"

It will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community, and academic library American Music History reference collections and supplemental studies reading lists."-- The Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 05/2015
  • 9780692445532
  • 336 pages
  • $27.95

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