Thursday, November 3, 2016

SOUNDPRINTS (Nov/Dec edition)


Nominally a jazz writer-blogger, Marc Myers collects some of his Wall Street Journal columns in Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop. (Read this interview with Myers about the Clash's "London Calling.") The sad departure of the Purple One this year coincides with a wave of nostalgia for the scruffy but hugely influential Minnesota music scene: photographer Daniel Corrigan collects his favorite images in Heyday: 35 Years of Music in Minneapolis (check out this Pitchfork profile) and veteran Twin Cities music scribe Jim Walsh collects his own Bar Yarns and Manic-Depressive Mixtapes. Pittsburgh U music prof Michael C. Heller delved into the personal collections of many of New York's finest jazz masters to tell the story of Loft Jazz: Improvising New York in the 1970s. As they always do towards the end of the year, bios and memoirs are coming fast and furious: Tool/Puscifer frontman Maynard James Keenan's A Perfect Union of Contrary Things (watch the book trailer here); former enigmatic guitar whiz for the Smiths Johnny Marr's Set the Boy Free by Johnny Marr (go here for a recent interview); Testimony by Robbie Robertson (read an excerpt here); and Against Me! frontperson Laura Jane Grace's Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout (go here for an excerpt). But probably the most out-of-the-box choice for a music bio would be a famed LSD chemist, but in Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Owsley Stanley IIIRobert Greenfield makes the case for the man Steely Dan once dubbed "Kid Charlemagne." (Go here for Greenfield's Rolling Stone profile of Stanley.) The handsome oral-history volume No Half Steppin' also collects photographer Claude "Paradise" Gray's documenting of the pioneering hip hop scene at NYC's Latin Quarter club. Those who loved 1Q84 and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami know that music often plays subtle but pivotal roles in his novel; his new collection Absolutely on Music: Conversations should not disappoint. And for Ed Ward's first volume of The History of Rock & Roll, Volume I: 1920-1963, we pray that its fascinating epic scope (part 1 starts in 1920) will not render it as virtually unreadable as Ward's 1986 tome Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll. FINGERS CROSSED.

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