Louis Armstrong: Master of ModernismBy Thomas Brothers (Norton, 608 pages, $39.95) Duke: A Life of Duke EllingtonBy Terry Teachout(Gotham, 496 pages, $30) When I discovered jazz in the small Michigan town of my youth, it became for me a defining personality trait, something intellectual and obscure that only I enjoyed. A neglected Thelonious Monk CD I […]
C.W. Mahoney is a writer and musician living in Marquette, Michigan.
Maureen Dowd got really, really high. The New York Times columnist ate a legal marijuana candy bar in Denver while covering the “social revolution rocking Colorado.” Though she didn’t feel anything at first, soon the writer had to crawl into bed, “curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours.” The trip was […]
The Internet nostalgia machine has donated over $2.5 million dollars to Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton to restart the PBS series that originally ran from 1983 until 2006. Burton’s Kickstarter campaign was looking for a $1 million dollar goal and promises such incentives as private dinner with LeVar and a chance to wear his character’s sci-fi […]
Merriam-Webster has just announced the words—150 of them—that will be added to the newest edition of their abridged Collegiate Dictionary. Editor Peter Sokolowski says that “many of these new words show the impact of online connectivity to our lives and livelihoods.” I guess this is all part of the way we live now: “hashtag,” “selfie,” […]
Beatles vs. StonesBy John McMillian(Simon & Schuster, 320 pages) The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones is a debate long waged, with cases mounted in high school cafeterias and counterarguments teased out in the basement dens of baby boomers. Contrarian dorm rats pick apart “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “When I’m Sixty-Four” while […]
Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie ParkerBy Stanley Crouch(HarperCollins, 384 pages, $27.99) Few reputations in jazz are more secure than Charlie “Bird” Parker’s. Miles Davis is said to have quipped that “You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker.” Hundreds, if not thousands, of Bird discs, […]