From Blues to Bop: A Collection of Jazz Fiction

Richard N. Albert, Editor Louisiana State University Press $24.95 (295p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1616-6
These 20 stories about jazz musicians and listeners ripple with the spontaneous, energy-giving, improvisatory feel of the music itself. Memorable selections include Langston Hughes's blues-indebted exploration of jazz as an integral part of black culture; Beat chronicler John Clellon Holmes's portrayal of a bop saxophonist; Donald Barthelme's satire on every jazz artist's secret wish to be the greatest ever; and Josef Skvorecky's political parable about a swing band's fight against Aryan repression in 1940 Czechoslovakia. Among the novels excerpted are Dorothy Baker's pivotal Young Man with a Horn (1938) and Evan Hunter's Streets of Gold (1974). Some of the pieces are built around such jazz greats as Fats Waller and Charlie Parker; others deal with such themes as racial conflict, a convict's electrocution, the artist as rebel and the drug scene. A stellar jam session that will delight jazz buffs, this celebration of a distinctively American art blows red, hot and cool. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1990
Release date: 09/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 295 pages - 978-0-385-42219-2
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