Norman Vickers


Myself Among Others:  A Life in Music, George Wein with Nate Chinen ©2003 Da Capo Press.  Pp. 546.

Wein and Chinen did a good job of detailing Wein’s career in jazz both as a pianist, nightclub owner and world jazz impresario. It is well written and contains appropriate photographs.

Straighten Up and Fly Right; The Life and Music of Nat King Cole by Will Friedwald; Oxford University Press; © 2020 Will Friedwald, pp.633.   Friedwald writes for Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair.  He has also produced musical shows.   This is a detailed biography and there are appropriate reference notes.

Play The Way You Feel; The Essential Guide to Jazz Stories on Film, Kevin Whitehead. © 2020, Oxford University Press; pp.380.  NPR listeners will be familiar with Whitehead, a longtime columnist for their Fresh Air series.  He covers jazz in the movies beginning with Al Jolson’s starring in the 1927 movie he Jazz Singer.  This is a book which some readers will wish to devour cover to cover.  Others will likely use it to seek background on their favorite jazz movie(s).

King of the Blues; The Rise and Reign of B. B. King by Daniel de Vise’; Atlantic Monthly Press © 2021 Daniel de Vise’ pp.482.   de Vise’ is a professional journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner who has worked for the Washington Post and Miami Herald.  He has researched the career of B. B. King and has interviewed numerous family members and colleagues.  He gives a detailed portrait of the man and his career.  Appropriate photographs are also included.    

The Blues; The Authentic Narrative of My Music and Culture by Chris Thomas King.  Chicago Review Press; © 2021 by Chris Thomas King; pp. 400 with index, end notes and photographs.  Chris Thomas King is an actor, singer and Grammy winning blues guitarist.  He is the son of late bluesman Tabby Thomas. King tells his own story and that of his father along with his overview of the history of blues music. 

The Art of Jazz; A Visual History by Alyn Shipton with foreword by John Edward Hasse; © 2020 Elephant Book Company Ltd. Pp.256.  This book is by polymath Allyn Shipton now 67 years old.  He is a jazz bassist, lecturer in jazz, author, and publisher.  This is an oversize book 10” x 11” with photographs, posters featuring jazz musicians and events. There is informative text accompaniment.  John Edward Hasse, retired head of jazz section of Smithsonian and current jazz contributor for Wall Street Journal.  This is a fascinating book which should appeal to the jazz novice and the serious jazz student will wish to read and digest all the accompanying descriptive material.

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