The son of a Vanderbilt heiress, John Hammond listened to jazz records with his parents’ servants, went to Harlem as a teenager, and became a regular in clubs where very few white faces ever appeared. Taking a little family money, Hammond went across racial lines in pre-World War II America and came back with recordings of some of the greatest jazz musicians in history. By age 22, he had convinced Benny Goodman to integrate his band and made his first big discovery: Billie Holiday.
Later, as jazz gave way to pop and rock, Hammond championed Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, and Stevie Ray Vaughan in his life’s extraordinary second act.
In Dunstan Prial’s hands, Hammond’s biography is the story of American popular music since the 1930s, a tale of a man at the center of things, with his ears wide open.
“Dunstan Prial…has fashioned the diverse strands of Mr. Hammond’s life into a very readable narrative.” (The New York Times)
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The Straw That Stirred The Drink
The editing is terrible and distracting!
I enjoyed the book, but the audio editing was terrible. It was very distracting to hear the same recording of particular words repeated again and again in other paragraphs. Yes, you'll hear the same recording of a word multiple times in the same paragraph.
As far as I could tell, Ray Porter is a capable reader. However, the combination of his performance and the poor audio editing made listening to the book far from enjoyable. I liked the story, but the product is not professional. It needs to be rerecorded.
- Eric Ferguson