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Trumpet Blues: The Life of Harry James
Swing is back in style, and with it a renewed interest in the Big Band Era. And few players dominated that era more than Harry James, whose soaring trumpet solos and romantic hit tunes influenced popular music for a generation. Now, Peter J. Levinson, who knew Harry James personally, has written a revealing biography of this jazz icon, based on nearly 200 interviews with m ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 24th 2001 by Oxford University Press, USA
(first published November 30th 1990)
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A thorough look at Harry James' life and career, but the narrative is too often a stream of minutiae about bookings, recording dates, and band personnel. This seems to be a common hazard of jazz biographies. While cataloging a musician's body of work in such detail might interest jazz fanatics, it makes for poor reading. Some of the anecdotes from the road, however, are fascinating and offer great insight into the evolution of the music business in the first half of the twentieth century.
If a bio of a musician is realistic and not puff pastry, I like it. I don't know a lot about Harry James other than I remember seeing him on tv a lot when I was a kid - and I was a jazz fan even as a kid. He always sounded great - always had a band in a Basie kinda groove and always played really impressive trumpet. Chops city if you know what I mean.