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Four Jazz Lives

A.B. Spellman

Publication Year: 2011

This new and retitled edition of A. B. Spellman's long-out-of-print Four lives in the Bebop Business brings a classic work on jazz back to life, and shines a light on four musicians who've finally gotten their due. In 1966, at the height of the avant-garde and the year of the first edition, the subjects of Spellman's interviews for the book—Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Nichols, and Jackie McLean—were considered too subtle, complex, or difficult, certainly far from the comfortable melodies of more mainstream artists. Nearly forty years later, in the new edition, Spellman notes the capriciousness of the jazz industry and writes of darker cultural currents, "the most sinister of which is the gross indifference with which America receives those aspects of Afro-American culture that are not 'entertaining.'" Now that the world has caught up to the talents of Taylor, Coleman, Nichols, and McLean, Four Jazz Lives not only celebrates their musical genius but reminds us again of the permanent place they occupy in the pantheon of jazz greats. A. B. Spellman is a well-known author, poet, critic, and instructor. He has published numerous books and articles on the arts, including Art Tatum: A Critical Biography and The Beautiful Days.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Jazz Perspectives


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Introduction to the New Edition

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pp. vii-xvi

The Sixties, when Four Lives in the Bebop Business was written, were as wide open as American culture has been during my sixty-seven years. The Sixties were a garden of controversy, and, . . .

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Introduction to the Original Edition

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pp. xvii-xxiv

Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Herbie Nichols, and Jackie McLean-four profoundly different but closely related lives in the bebop business, that peculiar cross-poEination of show . . .

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I. Cecil Taylor

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pp. 1-76

JEANNE PHILLIPS is a black woman who has devoted much of her adult life to modem jazz. She is particular and serious, and is frequently seen in her large, . . .

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II. Ornette Coleman

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pp. 77-150

IN THE JAZZ circles of New York in the fall of 1959. there was an unusual feeling of apprehension and anticipation in the air. There was a musician coming. . . .

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III. Herbie Nichols

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pp. 151-177

THERE IS A KIND of culpability in the discovery of dead artists in that it seems almost criminal, certainly exploitative, even within the approved limits of capitalism, . . .

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IV. Jackie McLean

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pp. 178-235

THE OTHER MUSICIANS treated in this book have all been outsiders throughout their jazz careers. They have never been involved with the mainstream of jazz playing, . . .

Selected Bibliographies and Discographies

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pp. 237-243


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pp. 245-249

E-ISBN-13: 9780472022649
E-ISBN-10: 0472022644
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472089673
Print-ISBN-10: 0472089676

Page Count: 282
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Jazz Perspectives