Jive Junction You're not wrong Walter, you're just an asshole. -The Dude

13Feb/120

Book Review: “This Is Your Brain On Music” -Daniel Levitin

Posted by Mr. Music Hall

brainonmusic

(Warning: Don’t read this. It’s too long.)

This is the most important book about music I have ever read, because it explains, based on scientific studies, why musicality is a characteristic of all human societies, and why that should be so. The book even suggests that music (oral song and rhythm, etc.) were the proto-sounds which paved the way for the human behavior of using the spoken word i.e. language. Further, a consensus of world scientists agreed that the most important human invention was oral language. So, it might appear that our ancient humanoid ancestors sang and drummed their way into speaking, after which came structured language, religion, rationality, jingoism, politics, war, poetry, science-fiction, Sunday morning political food-fight TV programs, and railroad box-car tagging (not necessarily in that order).

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27Sep/110

Book Review: “Rhythm-a-ning: Jazz Traditions and Innovation” -Gary Giddins

Posted by Mr. Music Hall

Rhythm-a-ning Cover Art

The Loon, a.k.a. Allen Hall, has put this review in both “Fruit o’ the Loon” and “News and Views from the Hall LindyJazzMobile” because it is about jazz, and thus allows the Loon to air, to a wider audience, some huzzahs as well as some grievances and prejudices building to a dangerous head of pressure. So, if you get both periodicals, don’t puzzle over a bewildering feeling of déjà Loon.

The book is a compilation of 66 pieces found in various publications, and all are about jazz. Giddins is a premier student of music and an admired critic of jazz, even though Giddins oft annoys the Loon. Giddins lives and works in NYC, which affords benefit and absurdity. The benefit is that NYC is at the pointy end of the world jazz spear and many of the best jazz musicians reside in NYC or stray through, and, perchance, gather some valuable Giddins ink. The absurdity is that the pointy end of the jazz spear can be so damned avant garde it might not even be Jazz.  The Loon will freely point out the absurdities, but, otherwise, he will try to be fair. To wit

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9Sep/110

Book Review: “Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong” -Terry Teachout

Posted by Mr. Music Hall

Pops Cover

This hefty 674 page paperback biography of Louis Armstrong should stand as the best, and perhaps the last complete story of his life. The book is scrupulously researched and detailed to a fault. That said, the high quality of Mr. Teachout’s writing breathes life into “Pops,” and keeps the biographical narrative moving like a juggernaut.  Further, unlike all the other biographers of Armstrong, Terry Teachout is a musician, and that skill is evident in the many interesting music particulars found in the book.

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