Most of the music biographies I read are about musicians who have passed onto the great beyond, but that’s not the case in Wounds To Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution by Jerry Burgan (with Alan Rifkin). While some of the members of the band have died, Jerry is very much alive, as is the band’s lead singer, the elusive Bev Bivens.
What band, you ask? In 1965, We Five was near the top of the charts, with a great tune, You Were On My Mind (Trident T-108 and A&M SP 4111*, stereo & SP 111, mono). I’d rate it among the best songs of the 60s. The band had a few other minor hits, but nothing else like this. Continue reading
“It was the last time Miles Davis and Bill Evans would ever record together.”
There are hundreds of pivotal moments in the history of music. But that line, written by author Ashley Kahn on page 145 of Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece (2000) is the one line in the book that shocked me. I just didn’t know, didn’t realize the significance of it until Kahn’s words appeared before me…that Davis and Evans never recorded together again, after the making of Kind of Blue. Continue reading
I’ve read a lot of music biographies and histories, but Escaping the Delta, by Elijah Wald, might just be the best. Wald dissects the way we look at the blues today, versus the way Americans looked at it back when it was fresh and new (the early 1900s). The differences are startling. Perhaps most interestingly, he reframes our perception of the King of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson…or at least, the man the Columbia public relations department claimed was the King of the Delta Blues on a 1961 record album. Continue reading
Over the years of listening to jazz, I’d heard about some baroness, some woman who had befriended many a jazz musician. And that Charlie Parker, the man mostly responsible for bebop jazz (hence, all the jazz we listen to today), died in her New York City apartment. So after reading David Kastin’s well researched biography about her, it turns out those things were true. I was surprised by that, figuring that the truth of it would be rather diluted by the murky waters of history. Yes, this is a book review.
But Kastin’s bio goes into far more detail than that, and it turns out that the Baroness Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild de Koenigswarter (whew!) was a singular personality in the history of jazz. I mean, there was, and is, no one else like her. Continue reading