Upright Bass: The Musical Life and Legacy of Jamil Nasser

Muneer Nasser. Vertical Visions, $25 trade paper (252p) ISBN 978-0-692-89598-6
In this informative as-told-to memoir, Nasser highlights the musical career of his father, jazz bassist Jamil Nasser (1932­–2010). Nasser spent nearly seven years interviewing his father and many of his fellow musicians and friends, and he weaves those conversations into a narrative dotted with articles and music reviews of the time. Born George Joyner in Memphis, Jamil began playing bass at age 16, then attended Arkansas State, where he performed with various bands. After college, he played for two years in B.B. King’s band in Memphis then moved to New York City with jazz pianist Phineas Newborn and his brother, guitarist Calvin Newborn. Jamil fondly recalls his relationships with many fellow musicians, including pianist Oscar Dennard, trumpeter Idrees Sulieman (who introduced Nasser to Islam), and, with more complex feelings, Charles Mingus (the volatile musician “shared valuable insights about arco and pizzicato technique” with Jamil, yet often flew into a rage toward him). An outspoken advocate of music education and the preservation of jazz, Nasser helped form the Jazz Foundation of America in 1982 to provide medical, legal, and financial assistance to jazz musicians. This is a celebratory and worthy tribute to a jazz great. (BookLife)
Reviewed on : 02/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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