Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

I was born in Cairo, Egypt, in a household where music was constantly in the background. Father and mother were opera buffs. Aunt Tina was a piano teacher and uncle René an avid collector of jazz records and faithful listener to the American Forces Network radio station during World War II. My attention was definitely caught by jazz, and by the time I was thirteen years old I was singing more blues and jazz songs than playing Chopin on the piano. My formal schooling entailed English-Italian-French studies mainly at The English School in Heliopolis, Cairo, then in Florence, Italy....

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Introduction

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pp. 1-2

One day I discover, with amazement rather than dismay, that I have passed the birthday sign marked “80.” I sit on my terrace in Nice, enjoying the view that embraces the Mediterranean from Cap Ferrat to Cap d’Antibes, and I count my blessings. I sigh my thanks from a Latin “Deo Gratias” to an Oriental “al hamdul’Allah” in homage to the land of Egypt, where I was born and given my first fourteen years of multiethnic education. I felt neither a British subject, as had been my Maltese father, nor a maternal Italian one, considering myself simply a “bent el Nil,” a “daughter of the Nile,” as did most of us European schoolgirls in Cairo....

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Edward Kennedy Ellington: "Uncle Eddie"

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pp. 3-38

The most precious and amazing memory I treasure—of the many historical artists I had the privilege of meeting—is the unique world of Edward Kennedy Ellington.
From early childhood, during the Second World War years, I had been a constant radio listener, especially to the American Forces Network, enjoying artists called Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, Dinah Shore, the Dorsey Brothers, not to forget Dame Vera Lynn . . . and, way above them, was the Duke Ellington Orchestra....

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Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach

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pp. 39-58

Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach were undoubtedly the most interesting couple of modern jazz. They were brilliant and intelligent, and we are all aware of their artistic accomplishments as well as the political and social importance they were deservedly given. For my part, I can speak of them remembering the friendship that developed between our two families, from our first “business” meeting in Milano and on through all the years that followed....

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Horace Silver

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pp. 59-76

Remembering Horace Silver, the first thing that comes to mind is Chicago in June 1968, when I had been invited—in the role of interpreter by Meazzi, Italy’s leading percussion firm—to the Chicago Music Show, where Max Roach was endorsing and promoting their Hollywood Tronic Drum.
One day a pleasant young man had entered the drum room while Max was absent. His name was Billy Cobham, drummer with the Horace Silver quintet performing in town at the Plugged Nickel. He had heard of this Italian drum, so...

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Raymond Charles Robinson: Interviews-Conversations 1968-1979

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pp. 77-96

At the Newport Jazz Festival in July 1968, Joe Adams, business assistant and manager to Ray Charles, had set up an appointment for me to meet the artist in New York as I wished to interview him for my jazz program on the Italian National Radio network. I admit I was not specifically a fan of Ray Charles. I was a Sinatra “bobbysoxer” from age twelve and, where other male artists were concerned, my preference went from the “unforgettable” velvet of Nat King Cole to the volcanic “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” Otis Redding—alas, gone too soon—as well as a...

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Bill Evans: Weaver of Dreams

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pp. 97-104

Among the many historical jazz pianists I have appreciated, I must confess to a definite preference. The incurable romantic in me was doomed upon listening to that elegant touch, that harmonic invention, the unique melodic lines that belonged to Bill Evans alone. I am obviously aware that it is a preference shared by many other listeners, including some well-known pianists who admit their enormous debt to our artist.
When I was informed that Bill Evans would be playing in Bologna, in the mid- 1970s, I was also warned that he was a very private person who did not give...

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John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie: The Joyous Soul of Jazz

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pp. 105-198

This story is not about Dizzy Gillespie seen as the world-famous artist, the musical innovator, the composer and arranger who led the way to new, daring, harmonic and rhythmic inventions. Nor need we refer to the amazing instrumental performer.
We shall not dissert on his historic importance, nor will it be a biography, there being an excellent To Be or Not to Bop translated into many languages. Dealing mainly with his adventures in Europe, you could consider this an addition to that biography, which does not mention his longstanding relationship with Italy....