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The book was mostly a collection of pieces Marian wrote for various publications during the 60's and 70's with updates written within the last couple of years.
She has some interesting insights to a rather small subset of all the jazz that was going on at the time.
A lot of the pieces were about players of the day such as Benny Goodman, Dave Brubek, Paul Desmond etc. Her naration was somewhat of a problem, because in many places it was unclear if what she was reading were her opinions or quotes from the people she was writting about.
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Would you try another book from Marian McPartland and/or Marian McPartland?
A wonderful musician, an NPR icon, and apparently a very decent person, Marion McPartland reads from some articles she wrote in the 70-80s, and then attaches some excerpts of radio shows comprise the last several chapters. I liked the introduction about her (read by someone else), and her own reading of her own reminiscences of her ten years of playing at the Hickory house, and the chapter the tells how the radio show got started (also one of the early chapters). I also like the little 10-15 second piano introduction to each chapter..
What do you think your next listen will be?
More about jazz/piano. I am wishing that there could be an audio book that maximizes the medium, by mixing description/explanation with demonstration/playing. But I guess that copyright issues prevent this?
What didn’t you like about Marian McPartland’s performance?
The excerpts can be found on Youtube and the articles (gushing tributes to a few great jazz artists she worked with) are not very revealing. When she adds a post-script from the 80-90s (most articles are from the 70-80s) she often repeats herself. The chapter on women in jazz is mind-numbingly repetitive and rambling. She never brings up race although it would seem a worthy topic for her reminiscences.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
I felt disappointment. I guess it was easy for her to put this compilation together. But I wish that somebody had interviewed her instead, extracting more from her wealth of experience..
Any additional comments?
The chapter numbers of the book are not in sync with the Audible chapter headings.