Gary Giddins's Weather Bird is a brilliant companion volume to his landmark in music criticism, Visions of Jazz, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. More then 140 pieces, written over a 14-year period, are brought together for the first time in this superb collection of essays, reviews, and articles. Weather Bird is a celebration of jazz, with illuminating commentaryon contemporary jazz events, today's top muscicians, the best records of the year, and on leading figures from jazz's past. Readers will find extended pieces on Louis Armstrong, Erroll Garner, Benny Carter, Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Billie Holiday, Cassandra Wilson, Tony Bennett, and many others. Giddins includes a series of articles on the annual JVC Jazz Festival, which offers a splendid overview of jazz in the 1990s. Other highlights include an astute look at avant-garde music ("Parajazz") and his challenging essay, "How Come Jazz Isn't Dead?" which advances a theory about the way art is born, exploited, celebrated, and sidelined to the museum.
A radiant compendium by America's leading music critic, Weather Bird offers an unforgettable look at the modern jazz scene.
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Gary Giddins wrote the Village Voice's "Weather Bird" column for 30 years. His eight books and three documentary films have garnered unparalleled recognition for jazz, including a National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, two Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Awards, five ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards, a Peabody, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He received national attention for his commentary in Ken Burns's Jazz. He lives in New York City.
"Giddins has been recognized as the Duke, the Count, the Earl of jazz writers.... No one puts it together like Giddins, whose writing is an unmatched combination of big ideas, witty wordsmithery, historical insight, and musicological know-how.... Thumbing through 'Weather Bird' is like
listening to some of your old favorites--and being astonished as you still hear new things.... Giddins has set the bar for jazz scholarship so high no one is likely to top it.... His jazz column was a thing to be treasured--as is this collection."--Will Friedwald, New York Sun
"The breadth and depth of Giddins's knowledge is extremely impressive, his ear is astounding, and his masterly style routinely achieves the near impossible in writing engagingly about something that inherently eludes description.... The book stands on its own, but taken with Giddins's
acclaimed Visions of Jazz: The First Century, it affords the reader a highly accessible, personal, and perceptive portrait of the development of jazz and its towering figures (and some lesser-known but significant talents), from its beginnings to the present."--Library Journal
"There is an indescribable joy in finding writers who not only know how to cleverly turn a phrase, but who truly understand how to imbue their writing with personality, life and a personal perspective that makes a reader want to keep coming back for more. Jazz writer Gary Giddins is such
writer.... From Louis Armstrong to The Bad Plus, from Dave Holland to Dave Douglas, from Sonny Rollins to David S. Ware and Charlie Christian to Charles Mingus, Weather Bird is about as comprehensive a critical look at jazz as one can find in 600 pages."--John Kelman, allaboutjazz.com
"A hefty but absorbing collection of the ex-Village Voice critic's recent jazz criticism. As a dilettante jazz listener, I learned something from every paragraph."--Alex Ross, therestisnoise.com
"Giddins has probably become the standard by which all other jazz writers and critics have to be judged.... The second volume of Giddins' extraordinary work confirms fully that he was probably the greatest regularly appearing working critic of the music in its history."--The Buffalo
"Giddins is opinionated but generous, with the laudable ability to capture the essence of a performer's style in vibrant language that makes the music described seem almost audible."--Publishers Weekly
"When it comes to selling the music he loves, he's a gifted evangelist. That's no small thing."--JazzTimes
"Giddins has a voice. It's full of bold assertions and blunt putdowns. He loves the music to death--that feeling oozes through these 600-plus pages, though Giddins balances emotion with intellect, as does jazz itself. He's a scholarly fanatic, obsessing on the music endlessly, at times
comically, fusing a school kid's ebullience to dissertation-like detail. He seems to work as hard at understanding the music as musicians do at mastering jazz's labyrinthine systems."--San Jose Mercury News
"Giddins' insights are so compelling and his writing so crisp that matters like past, present and future become moot.... Like so many of the virtuosos he writes about, Giddins has an explosive way of expressing ideas, sometimes complex ones."--David Rubien, San Francisco Chronicle
"Giddins can be read for the sheer pleasure of watching him surround music with language. He's passionate and erudite, a marvelous historian, and always a splendid companion -- an essayist in the disguise of a critic." --Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless
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