Hear Me Talkin' to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made it

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Courier Corporation, 1955 - Music - 429 pages
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"Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." ? Charlie Parker
"What is jazz? The rhythm ? the feeling." ? Coleman Hawkins
"The best sound usually comes the first time you do something. If it's spontaneous, it's going to be rough, not clean, but it's going to have the spirit which is the essence of jazz." ? Dave Brubeck
Here, in their own words, such famous jazz musicians as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, Bunk Johnson, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Clarence Williams, Jo Jones, Jelly Roll Morton, Mezz Mezzrow, Billie Holiday, and many others recall the birth, growth, and changes in jazz over the years. From its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century in the red-light district in New Orleans (or Storyville, as it came to be known), to Chicago's Downtown section and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Chicago's South Side to jam sessions in Kansas City to Harlem during the Depression years, the West Coast and modern developments, the story of jazz is vividly and colorfully documented in hundreds of personal interviews, letters, tape recorded and telephone conversations, and excerpts from previously printed articles that appeared in books and magazines.
There is no more fascinating and lively history of jazz than this firsthand telling by the men who made it. It should be read and re-read by all jazz enthusiasts, musicians, students of music and culture, students of American history, and other readers. "A lively book bearing the stamp of honesty and naturalness." ? Library Journal. "A work of considerable substance." ? The New Yorker. "Some of the quotations are a bit racy but they give the book a wonderful flavor." ? San Francisco Chronicle.


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Stories told by jazz musicians are always fascinating, and this book is one of the best collections of them out there. I've owned this book for most of my life and rarely does a year go by that I don't pick it up and read at least a few passages. Most of the greats are represented here, and their words are golden.  

Review: Hear Me Talkin' To Ya

User Review  - Takipsilim - Goodreads

Well done oral history on the origin and development of the great genre. Read full review


night stands commercialism and the breakdown of some
It was always a musical townspecially The District
For every occasiondances funerals parties and
The kids were poor and they often improvised their
Bunk Johnson King Oliver Louis Armstrong Kid Ory
and many more
Gang Muggsy Spanier George Wettling and Benny
more musicians and thenthe Chicago decline
New Yorks second linethe men who played with
From Kansas City a musicians town came stories
The experimentersThelonius Monk Dizzy Gillespie
10 Downtown Fiftysecond Street was the proving ground
About a problemnarcotics
New sounds from big bandsStan Kenton Woody
of the younger jazzmen and some serious composers

1o In a Mistthe legendary Bix
to Harlem which really jnrnpedon through
Ellington plays the piano but his real instrument is

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Page 421 - CHARLIE PARKER Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.

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About the author (1955)

Nat Hentoff is one of America's most prolific journalists. A music critic, civil libertarian, and free speech advocate, he has written more than twenty books of non-fiction and six novels. His scope includes jazz, politics, biography, education, freedom of expression, capital punishment, and the US Bill of Rights. He wrote a biography of John Cardinal O'Connor, the controversial archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York. Hentoff's columns have appeared in such magazines as the Village Voice, Down Beat, Jazz Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Jewish World Review.

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