Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Hopefully Not OT: Reading Suggestions


Rusty Mike

Recommended Posts

Hopefully this is not too far off topic. I'm taking my family to Italy in late June, and I'm looking for some suggestions for reading material to load onto my iPad for the plane and train rides. I'm not much of a book reader, so I'd like to hear some ideas.

 

The reason I'm asking you kind folks on this forum is because I thought I'd download a biography or two, preferably for a jazz musician. I saw Wynton Marsalas has two books out, one of which is about how to listen to jazz to understand it better, so it's not necessarily a biography. I've also seen a Tom Waits bio available, which would have a certain bizarre entertainment quality to it. But I'm really open to any suggestion, and not just about bios or jazz.

 

So, to ask the tired old question: Read any good books lately?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

 

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 35
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I haven't read a plethora of jazz bio's, but Hampton Hawes co-written bio, Raise Up Off Me, is a fantastic read, albeit it not for the faint of heart. I couldn't put it down.

 

Since you're going to Italy, check out some Italo Calvino. He's one of my favorite writers. "If On a Winter's Night A Traveler" is probably his best novel. "Invisible Cities" is particularly good for reading in short spurts. He doesn't write about about jazz, but you could argue that the improvisational character of his style parallels the creativity of the jazz musician.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several biographies of the Beatles, Hendrix, Trane, and lots of other people. David Crosby (Byrds, CSN) wrote a couple nice autobiographies, and B. B. King's is a classic. Clapton's is not bad, if you can get past his years as a drunk - but you surely can't say he wasn't honest!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

+ 1 for 'this is your brain on music',

and 'Musicphilia', by Oliver Sachs, is a very interesting discussion about people with various physical problems in their brains, leading them to perceive music in very different and enlightening ways....

NORD STAGE 2, IPAD 2 with lots of soft syths

Roland td9 expanded

Guitars, basses, Pod Xtl, GT-10b

Garritan, Reason, Symphonic Choirs , Cubase, Sibelius

Three shelter cats

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you get the Eric Clapton book, shouldn't you get the other side from Pattie Boyd as well? :D

 

("Wonderful Tonight")

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have any ELP blood in your veins, Keith Emerson's book "Pictures of an Exhibitionist" is a very good read.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Hit Men" - Fredric Dannen is a fascinating look into the popular music business circa 1960-1990 (if you're from that era). If you ever wondered why this artist got promotion and airplay and that one didn't, well... this book explains it.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For jazz related books there is an excellent bio of Monk: Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of An American Original

 

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516zIy5ftWL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

 

I also recommend Kind of Blue: The Making of the Mils Davis Masterpiece

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Ow1JKUIsL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

 

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, to ask the tired old question: Read any good books lately?

 

 

I've been reading some of the classics. I've downloaded a lot of books and short stories along the lines of Dickens, Oscar Wilde, etc. So far I'm doing good with the short stories. Washington Irving is my favorite, he's very readable and has a great wit. Another is Saki, pen name for HH Munro.

 

For music-related bios, I really enjoyed Henry Mancini's autobiography, it was an excellent read. clonk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, to ask the tired old question: Read any good books lately?

 

Mike,

 

Not directly musician's biographies, but inspiring to me as a musician, I might suggest one of the following:

 

1) As a refreshing hiatus from the topic of music, I am greatly enjoying The Gods of Winter by Dana Gioia, which is a short book of contemporary poetry that hits me in the heart, mind and soul.

 

2) A timeless favorite of mine is The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis, which I find myself returning to frequently from season to season.

 

3) An absorbing read is also the timeless Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse, although its brooding sweep may put your family vacation in a decidedly different mood than you intend.

 

4) Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner has been frequently recommended on this forum, for good reason.

 

5) Finally, Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin may fuel your fire to rededicate yourself to music (or make you feel guilty for taking a vacation and not be practicing LOL).

 

 

No matter what you end up reading, enjoy the time in Italy with your family.

 

Tim

 

..
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The memoir "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank: Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier" by Thad Carhart was a fun read for me.

 

One of the reasons I liked it was because it was written from the point of view of someone who is passionate about music, but is not a pro. It's nice to reaffirm that I am not the only (very serious) hobbyist.

 

davyyd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm enjoying reading the d'Artagnon series by Dumas, beginning with The Three Musketeers and ending with The Man in the Iron Mask. 2000 pages of escapism, with a bit of history to boot. $2 from Barnes&Noble, and probably similar price from the others. No music, though!

 

I'll add Irving to my playlist. ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 on the Monk biography, Life and Times of an American Original by Robyn Kelley. One of the best music reads I've had in a while!!
Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

+1 for The Piano Shop on the Left Bank. Lush writing. And "Hit Men" almost made me quit the business. You'll want to wash after reading it, but don't let that stop you. It's a must-read.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old book, but fun in a bizarre way:

 

Charles Mingus' autobiography "Beneath the Underdog"

 

Yamaha CK88, Arturia Keylab 61 MkII, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Casio CT-S500, Mac Logic/Mainstage, iPad Camelot, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2, JBL EON One Compact

www.stickmanor.com

There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. The response is amazing! I sincerely appreciate everyone's input. I'm going to research all of these and download a few. We can all use a bit of inspiration, and I've kinda bummed about my day job lately, so the suggestions that look at life from a different perspective are just what I need.

 

Thanks so much.

 

Mike

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim,

 

These are great suggestions. I may defer Steppenwolf since I want to keep it light. I'm going to look into the Werner and Colvin books. Since music is hobby and not business (keeps it fun that way) I practice because I want to get better. I get about 45 minutes to and hour each day, so the progress is slow but steady.

 

Thanks again for the great suggestions.

 

Mike

 

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the suggestions are great ones, but no matter what I take on a vacation to read, my travel book collection is incomplete without one of Ian Fleming's original 007 novels.

 

Great change of pace - sheer escapist fantasy, wryly delivered from the typewriter of an ex-journalist and intelligence officer, that can be picked up and put down at any time.

-Mike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw Wynton Marsalas has two books out, one of which is about how to listen to jazz to understand it better, so it's not necessarily a biography.

The Wynton book that has autobiography sections is "Moving to Higher Ground", a very good read.

 

Duke Ellington "Music Is My Mistress"

 

+1 for "Effortless Mastery"

 

I also recommend Victor Wooten's "The Music Lesson" though not an autobiography.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moving To Higher Ground is the sample I downloaded. I catch Wynton's Sirius radio show on Saturdays when I can, and I really like his demeanor. He is very down to earth, and talks as a student of jazz and not a teacher. It's great when he decomposes a Horace Silver piece in plain English. From the book sample, it seems his writing style is very similar.

 

Thanks for the input.

 

Mike

 

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read most (if not all) of the music-related books suggested here, and they're all great. My personal favorite are Mingus' "Beneath the Underdog", and Miles, of course. Emerson's book is fun, too.

 

I'd like to add a couple of classics, Billie Holiday's "Lady Sings the Blues", and "Dance of the Infidels" about But Powell. The latter is rather distressing though.

Recently, I also read Basie's autobiography, nice and entertaining.

 

Adan - I've always been surprised by Calvino's success abroad, because his typical dry, dreaming atmosphere goes quite together with the sound of the words he uses. It takes an excellent translator to express that in a different language!

 

Finally, BaldRust - if you're heading to Rome and need advice of any kind, feel free to drop me a line by PM.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many good suggestions here, music or not. I just finished The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, a great read. It's fairly light but still quite engaging. Also, I've been reading some Gabriel García Marquez, although it's unfortunately in English. If you wanted to read a play, check out Molière, French's Shakespeare. Very funny stuff, quite well written. Have a nice trip!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the suggestions are great ones, but no matter what I take on a vacation to read, my travel book collection is incomplete without one of Ian Fleming's original 007 novels.

 

Great change of pace - sheer escapist fantasy, wryly delivered from the typewriter of an ex-journalist and intelligence officer, that can be picked up and put down at any time.

Add Elmore Leonard to the list of great escapist fiction. His dialogue writing makes me want to read the same page over and over just to savour the flavour!

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MonksDream beat me to it, but yes, Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (http://www.amazon.com/Kind-Blue-Making-Miles-Masterpiece/dp/0306810670) is good.

 

Just for giggles, I'm gonna go in the opposite direction and mention something that's rather low-brow but nonetheless fascinating. It's the new Sammy Hagar autobiography, which describes in vivid and horrific detail his time with the incredibly effed-up Van Halen brothers, who were far more screwed up than I woulda ever thought. Just wow. Anyway, it's a quick read and a very interesting book.

http://www.amazon.com/Red-My-Uncensored-Life-Rock/dp/0062009281/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1306454317&sr=1-1

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I travel to a location, I like to read either books about that region, fiction or non-fiction, or read authors from the region. That can really create an additional flavor and enhance the enjoyment of the trip.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...