Jazz And Its Discontents: A Francis Davis Reader

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Da Capo Press, Jul 21, 2009 - Music - 352 pages
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From Frank Sinatra to Sun Ra, from the jazz age to middle age, with thoughts on everything in-between, Francis Davis has been writing about American music and American culture for more than twenty years. His essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and the Village Voice among countless other publications from coast to coast. And now, for the first time, here are his most important writings of his impressive career-the quintessential Davis on everything from why Rent set musicals back two decades, to what Ken Burns should have filmed. And Davis's writing is as enjoyable as the music of which he writes. The New York Times Book Review has compared Davis's work to "a well-blown solo."

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User Review  - chriszodrow - LibraryThing

I picked this up to get a better idea of the social world of "jazz". Davis is a great writer, creating prose that is both accessible and deeply illustrative. Save for the many typos the writing is ... Read full review



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Page xi - I have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours shaping, extending and changing hopeless or defective work. I lie on a bed staring, crossing out, writing in, crossing out what was written in, again and again, through days and weeks. Heavenly hours of absorption and idleness . . . intuition, intelligence, pursuing my ear that knows not what it says. In time, the fragmentary and scattered limbs become by a wild extended figure of speech, something living ... a person.
Page x - Death of Little Nell (of which Oscar Wilde remarked, "One must have a heart of stone to read it without laughing") The fact is Hemingway is a short-story writer and not a novelist. He has little understanding of the subject matter of the novel: character, social setting, politics, money matters, human relations, all the prose of life.

About the author (2009)

Francis Davis is a contributing editor of the Atlantic Monthly and writes regularly for the New York Times and the New Yorker. He is the author of the acclaimed books Outcats and History of the Blues and a biography of John Coltrane (Knopf). He lives in Philadelphia.

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