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Reading Books about Music is a Good Idea....


davebrownbass

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...which I, unfortunately do not do enough of. And when I do, I generally either scan through one, or get halfway through.

 

EDIT: THIS TOPIC HAS BEEN STARTED AGAIN... and so I thought I'd revive it so newbies could see what's gone before. In addition, I've discovered a new book that is GREAT...it is in my post at the bottom. I now return you to the original post...EDIT OFF!!!

 

But I believe that other musicians have really useful keys to developing our playing. Of course, the most famous book is probably Barry Green (symphonic bassist) and "The Inner Game of Music.

 

So, here's the book thread. Please list a book that is or has helped you, and explain why?

 

Limit your posts to a maximum of 2 books; this is not a list, but rather an exploration of wonder.

 

Here is mine:

 

"Effortless Mastery, Liberating the Master Musician Within" by Kenny Warner. Jamey Aebersold, pub.

 

Here's a quote: "We are all a part of a universal game. Returning to our essence while living in the world is the object of the game. The earth is the game board, and we are the pieces on the board. We move around and around until we remember who we really are, and then we can be taken off the board. At that point, we are no longer the game-piece, but the player; we've won the game."

 

Any readers?

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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Standing in the Shadows of Motown: James Jamerson

 

This is a great (albeit brief) history of Motown and Jamerson - who defined the Motown bass sound. In addition to the text are 2 CDs of great current players performing transcriptions of Jamerson's work, and the tracriptions. The CD's are stereo and mixed so you can pan out the bass, or solo the bass.

- Matt W.
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Jaco - the extraordinary and tragic life of Jaco Pastorius by Milkowski

and

Tunesmith - the art of songwriting by James Webb

 

the Jaco book was inspiring and insightful. Tunesmith really helped me put great songs together, and got me more into applying melodies lyrically rather than always instrumentally

If you're ever looking for me,

a don't go too far.

Cause if you really wanna find me,

you know where I are...

with me and my bass guitar!

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Great topic! Here's some of my favs in no particular order.

 

1. Everything (a book about Manic Street Preachers) by Simon Price

2. The Stones by Phillip Norman

3. The Beatles by Phillip Norman

4. Scars of sweet paradise, Janis Joplin by Alice Echols

5. Heavier than Heaven Kurt Cobain by Charles Cross

6. Nirvana and the sound of Seattle by Brad Morrel

7. Touching from a distance Ian Curtis by Deborah Curtis.

 

Most of these books don't say too much about the actual making of music but I find them really interesting and inspiring. Most of the subjects died sad lonely deaths which I suppose is why they make all the more intriuging.

 

The Sound of Seattle and the Janis Joplin book also give quite interesting social commentaries, following, ear marking trends and social factors etc.

 

Gotta be better than "reading" Hustler anyway :D

 

CupMcMali...this monkey's gone to Iceland :freak:

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"Master Handbook of Acoustics"

OK, it's not a music book per se, but it does deal with music. This is a 600-odd page book on bankground and practically applied music theory. Anybody that has a studio or does sound should read this book. It offers a great deal of explination about why acoustic phenomenea happens and what to do about them.

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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Books? Reading? I'm confused... :(

 

But no, I read the Bass Player Book, written and put together by the editor of BPMag. It gives some examples in standard notation and, dare I say, TAB :mad: . It helped me a lot when I was first starting out, and it has some great articles about other stuff like recording, as well as stories on such greats as Flea, Les Claypool, Stanley Clarke, Jaco, Larry Graham (I think), and Jamerson.

 

It also has really cool pics and stuff, too. Great book. :D

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"Reading Jazz - A Gathering of Autobiography, Reportage and Criticism from 1919 to Now" - edited by Robert Gottlieb. A great, great and inspiring read about most of the great figures and characters of jazz.

 

"Bird Lives" a wonderful biography from a first hand look by his Dial Records producer Ross Russell. I suppose that fact should throw some doubt into it's veracity, but still until Chan Richardson's book and/or diary is uncovered . . .

 

"John Coltrane - His Life and Music" - Lewis Porter. The definitive Coltrane biography.

All the best,

 

Henry Robinett

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Okay, I've mentioned the Effortless Mastery book...Now I'm in chapter 3, and it's reminded me of lessons I've forgotten about from years ago. Heres the Amazon link: Amazon Effortless Mastery

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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"The Art of Practicing" by Madeline Bruser. Be conscious of those shoulder blades, and the right positions for everything just fall into place...

 

"Miles" by Miles Davis w/ Quincy Troupe. This book grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go. "Man, that shit was so terrible it was scary..." :D And the stories!

 

"Miles and Me" by Quincy Troupe. Basically a collection of Quincy's anecdotes regarding his experiences interviewing Miles for various magazines and Miles' autobiography.

 

"In The Court of King Crimson" by Sid Smith. A detailed and exhaustive account of everything every incarnation of King Crimson ever did...

 

"The Real Frank Zappa Book" by Frank Zappa. Lot's of great stuff in here...although he gets a bit preachy near the end (not surprising).

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OOH! OOH! My Favorite Subject! Good thread!

I love good (far and few between) mucical biographies:

JEREMY C. (didn't mean to shout, wanted to be sure you saw this...) If you liked "Chasin' the Trane" try:

l. John Coltane/His Life and Music" by Lewis Porter. Some different/more detailed biographical info PLUS musical anaylisis and examples. A great work. Michigan Press

 

2. BEN LOY, A VERY strong 2nd for "Miles" Davis's auto biography with Quincy Troupe.

I didn't much care for "Miles and Me" and IMHOthought the writing quality far beneath that of "Miles" to the extent that I couldn't believe it was even the same author. Maybe I'm just pissed 'cause I enthusiastically bought an expenslive hardcover edition when it first came out and it wasn't worth that. In a used paperback price realm it'd be worth reading. "Miles", though is MUST reading for any jazz fan or otherwise. One of the very best.

 

2.5 "Straight No Chaser" by Leslie Gourse

THE best bio of Thelonious Monk. A great read. Did ANYbody really know him?

 

3. "Purlple Gypsy"- by far-as in no contest- the best Jimi Hendrix bio in existence. It treats him as the musical innovator and composer that he was-almost in a Mozart kind of reverential way. It minimizes all the other "crap" that everyone else always "yellow journalizes".

 

4. "Across The Great Divide" -"The Band in America" If you're a Band or Rick Danko (bass) in particular this is a good one. Now available in paperback at bargain book outlets.

 

5. "Muddy Watters" by Tooze. Maybe (?) the only quality bio out on Mr. Morganfield.

 

6. I AM the Blues by Willie Dixon-the principal tune writer at Chess Records and bassist.

 

7."Last Train to Memphis" by Peter Guralnick.

A fantastic bio on Elvis (yeah, I know...) that treats Elvis' early years-when he was really just a "regular guy musician" in a wonderfully warm and totally fan-crap absent way. You actually feel like you like and know the guy a genuine/real person before he became the "Michael Jackson" self parody of himself that we are all sadly familiar with. REALLY, try this one I thin even very marginal Elvis fans will really like it. It's also know available in hardback from bargain book outlets or libraries. The second book, dealing with his "Michael Jackson" side in later career is exactly what you'd expect and VERY depressing. It makes Jaco's bio look like a new age feel good tome!

 

8.For an excellent overview of the Free Jazz Scene (Ornettel Coleman, Albert Ayler, Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, etc.) in the late '60s and '70's check out: "As Serious as Your Life"

by Valerie Wilmer. (a British book you may have to have your bookseller order for you (paperback).www.Serpentstail.com is the publisher, last I heard. Great candid photos of the artists.

 

For playing: "Serious Electric Bass" by Joel Di Bartolo, Chuck Sher's two solo bass books.

 

Please check some of these out. I think you'll really enjoy them.

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have."

Edgar Watson Howe

"Don't play what's there. Play what's not there" Miles Davis

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Oops, sorry 'bout all the typos. That'd be PURPLE Gypsy and MUSICAL bios. :-)

I should say that the Porter Coltrane book is pretty thick reading and wouldn't appeal to anyone but the most ardent Coltrane enthusiast. I'm sure that Jeremy C with his theory knowledge would dig it.

 

One more I've just gotta recommend: "

"Lous Armstrong: An Extravagent Life". I couldn't put it down. When I started, I wasn't much of a Satchmo appreciator but definitely was once I'd read this. If nothing else, the birth(ing) of Jazz scene in New Orleans in the early days is amazing to "experience".

DAVE BROWN, (hi!) Thanks for this thread. Maybe I'll get turned on to more unforgettable books.

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have."

Edgar Watson Howe

"Don't play what's there. Play what's not there" Miles Davis

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Two books that changed my perception:

 

1) SHOUT! The Beatles' Story by Phillip Norman. This book had lots of musical insights and techniques, as well as the general phenomenon. IT originally fed my musical fire.

2) How to Write a Song by Jimmy Webb. This man is astounding. His knowledge of music theory is amazing to me. It taught me a lot about composition and theory.

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I'll check out the Coltrane book.

 

I read two Miles Davis books at the same time, his autobiography and a biograph. It was interesting to compare the two and to try to decide which one to believe.

 

There's lot of great jazz biographies and autobiographies.

 

Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus is outstanding and often hard to believe.

 

Really The Blues by Mezz Mezzrow is a nice story of the early years of bebop.

 

Straight Life, the biography of Art Pepper ,is a frightening story of a gifted individual whose career and life was wrecked by drugs.

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Originally posted by jeremyc:

Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus is outstanding and often hard to believe.

 

snip . .

 

Straight Life, the biography of Art Pepper ,is a frightening story of a gifted individual whose career and life was wrecked by drugs.

I asked Sue Mingus this very thing. She, a very practical and level headed person, said she had long since stopped trying to disbelieve anything he said. Too many times when stretched beyond the point of credulity, he proved to be right. One example: he was always paranoid and telling her this or that person was with the FBI and was following him. Of course she didn't believe it. But it turns out, according to her, he was right every time.

 

I agree with you. "Straight Life" is another great jazz autobiography.

All the best,

 

Henry Robinett

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Music, The Brain & Ecstacy /Robert Jourdain

(will update later with pubisher & date)

 

This book covers a diverse set of facts from how certain parts of the brain work to why music may affect us to the evolution of hearing to what actually happens when you read a page of notation...

it's always informative & fascinating &, underneath it all, pops up with practical concepts that can be put to use (if you have any imagination).

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A better and recent bio of Mingus is : "Myself When I Am Real" I've read an awful lot of documentation about "Beneath The Underdog" to disbelieve a lot of it... Check out "Myself When I Am Real" and compare.

 

I know what you mean about Miles and what was real there. In "Q" Quincy Jones autobio (also good) there was a fictional fist fight between Q and Miles reported in "Miles" that Q denies. Miles supposedly said something to the effect that it makes good copy though don't it?" ;)

"When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have."

Edgar Watson Howe

"Don't play what's there. Play what's not there" Miles Davis

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  • 8 months later...

Okay, new book time.

 

I've just bought the new book by Backbeat books (publisher of "The Bass Player Book" and written by John Goldsby. It's called "The Jazz Bass Book, Technique and Tradition." I have to say, this is simply the best book I've ever seen for the Advancing bass player. Ties purely musical ideas in with the tradition of great bassists. There's a chapter on 70 jazz bassists, with specifical music examples of their voice and an appended discography. There is a full section of jazz harmonic ideas, with tons of exercises and a CD to play along.

 

This is the first bass book I've seen in years that was pack full of information for more advanced players. There are excellent beginning books, but I already know virtually all that stuff. I love this book.

 

For a more beginning book, there is "Bass Playing for Dummies." Pretty good as well, but probably wouldn't stand alone as a text. There are a lot of "dumb questions" that are answered in this text.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.

 

Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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