Thursday, June 17, 2010
NEW ARRIVALS: Music
Charles Mingus, Beneath The Underdog
"Bass player extraordinaire Charles Mingus, who died in 1979, is one of the essential composers in the history of jazz, and Beneath the Underdog, his celebrated, wild, funny, demonic, anguished, shocking, and profoundly moving memoir, is the greatest autobiography ever written by a jazz musician. It tells of his God-haunted childhood in Watts during the 1920s and 1930s; his outcast adolescent years; his apprenticeship, not only with jazzmen but also with pimps, hookers, junkies, and hoodlums; and his golden years in New York City with such legendary figures as Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. Here is Mingus in his own words, from shabby roadhouses to fabulous estates, from the psychiatric wards of Bellevue to worlds of mysticism and solitude, but for all his travels never straying too far, always returning to music."
"This book is the purest of dynamite. Like the autobiographies of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday and like A. B. Spellman's Four Lives in the Bebop Business, it says more about the American pscyhe in general and black survival in particular than the sociologists and psychologists ever can in their stiff, soulless vocabularies.... Somber, comic, disturbing, boastful, confessional, sentimental, contradictory, poetic, irascible, impish...lyrical, nasty, angelic, reflective...expressionistic, picaresque, jive...this is a powerful book." —Rolling Stone
The Saga of Roky Erickson and The 13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound
The trailblazing 13th Floor Elevators released the first “psychedelic” rock album in America, transforming culture throughout the 1960s and beyond. The Elevators followed their own spiritual cosmic agenda — to change society by finding a new path to enlightenment. Their battles with repressive authorities are legendary.
Lead singer Roky Erickson was put away in a maximum security unit for the criminally insane for years. Tommy Hall, their Svengali lyricist, lived in a cave. Guitarist Stacy Sutherland was imprisoned. The drummer was involuntarily subjected to electric shock treatments.
This fascinating biography breaks decades of silence of band members and features dozens of never-before-printed photos. “One of the most exhilarating rock ‘n’ roll stories ever told.” — Julian Cope
The Wisdom of Sun Ra
Sun Ra's Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets
From the Arkestra to his experiments with synthesizers, Sun Ra was one of the most inventive jazz musicians in history. Yet until now, there has not been a collection of his earliest writings that reveal the beginnings of his work as philosopher, mystic, and Afro-Futurist. This new volume unveils over forty newly discovered typewritten broadsheets on which Sun Ra expounded his wholly unique philosophical message.
While in Chicago during the mid-1950s, Sun Ra preached on street corners and occasionally created scripts to accompany his lectures—intricate texts that invoke science fiction, Biblical prophecy, etymology, and black nationalism. Until this point, the only broadsheet known to exist was one given to John Coltrane in 1956. These newly unearthed writings attest to the provocative brilliance that inspired Coltrane. Sun Ra annotated many of them by hand, and together the sheets reveal fascinating new aspects of his worldview.
The Wisdom of Sun Ra is an invaluable compendium of writings by one of the most intriguing and influential jazz figures of the century.
Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians as Sung by Jean Ritchie
Jean Ritchie is the best known and most respected singer of traditional ballads in the United States. The youngest daughter of one of the most famous American ballad-singing families, the Ritchie family of Perry County, Kentucky, Jean carries on her family’s legacy as a singer of folk songs and traditional ballads.
The music found here tells the story of the "Singing Ritchie Family." Built upon a foundation of balladry inherited from old-world Scotland, the family’s repertoire was certainly eclectic but not haphazard. The Child ballads, lyric folksongs, play party or frolic songs, Old Regular Baptist lined hymns, Native American ballads, “hant” songs, and carols brought together in this collection were assembled by family members who actively sought out fragments of tunes and completed them by adding or embellishing verses and melodies. This new edition has faithfully retained all seventy-seven line scores of the songs and added four new ones, Loving Hannah, Lovin’ Henry, Her Mantle So Green, and The Reckless and Rambling Boy. The original headnotes and photographs tell the history of the song as well as how it became a part of the family’s life. Chords are indicated for accompainment, and a new audiography and videography have been added to this edition.
Fela: This Bitch of a Life
African superstar, composer, singer, and musician, as well as mystic and political activist, Nigerian Fela Kuti, born in 1938, was controversy personified. He was swept to international celebrity on a wave of scandal and flamboyance, and when he died of AIDS in 1997, more than a million people attended his funeral. But what was he really like, this man who could as easily arouse violent hostility as he could unswerving loyalty? Carlos Moore's unique biography, based on hours of conversation and told in Fela's first- person vernacular, reveals the icon's complex personality and tumultuous existence. Moore includes interviews with fifteen of his queens (wives); photos (b&w); and an updated discography. Foreword by Gilberto Gil.
John Storm Roberts, Black Music Of Two Worlds
“Black Music of Two Worlds” examines the cross-pollination — in both directions — between Africa and the Americas, from the influence of African music on jazz, blues, salsa and samba to the popularity in Nigeria and Zaire of American artists like James Brown and Jimi Hendrix.
In writing the book, Mr. Roberts sought to connect a diffuse web of existing studies by ethnomusicologists. The studies typically appraised local musical traditions while ignoring the reach of Africa as a whole.
“It was like a landscape with a large number of artesian wells, and nothing linking them,” he told The New York Times in 1992. “And I conceived of ‘Black Music of Two Worlds’ being more like canals joining.” -NY Times
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