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North Texas Lives of Musicians Series

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A Day for Dancing

The Life and Music of Lloyd Pfautsch

Kenneth W. Hart

After earning his theology degree from Union Seminary in New York, Lloyd Pfautsch (1921–2003) found his true calling in church music. He was invited to Southern Methodist University in 1958 to start their graduate program in sacred music and remained there for 34 years. Outside the university, he formed the Dallas Civic Chorus and led it for 25 years. He was nationally known for his conducting and the quality of the musicians he produced as well as for his compositions, many of which are illustrated here with his handwritten notations. This is the first biography of this important figure, and it is told from the viewpoint of a longtime colleague and friend. Aligned with the biography, Hart analyzes some of Pfautsch's hundreds of compositions. This is the definitive work on one of the most influential American choral musicians of the twentieth century. "The combination of biographical facts, history, and anecdotal accounts makes this work unique. Pfautsch was a powerful choral figure, and many conductors mentored under his guidance."--Tim Sharp, Executive Director, American Choral Directors Association

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The Original Guitar Hero and the Power of Music

The Legendary Lonnie Johnson, Music, and Civil Rights

Dean Alger

Lonnie Johnson (1894–1970) was a virtuoso guitarist who influenced generations of musicians from Django Reinhardt to Eric Clapton to Bill Wyman and especially B. B. King. Born in New Orleans, he began playing violin and guitar in his father’s band at an early age. When most of his family was wiped out by the 1918 flu epidemic, he and his surviving brother moved to St. Louis, where he won a blues contest that included a recording contract. His career was launched. Johnson can be heard on many Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong records, including the latter’s famous “Savoy Blues” with the Hot Five. He is perhaps best known for his 12-string guitar solos and his ground-breaking recordings with the white guitarist Eddie Lang in the late 1920s. After World War II he began playing rhythm and blues and continued to record and tour until his death. This is the first full-length work on Johnson. Dean Alger answers many biographical mysteries, including how many members of Johnson’s large family were left after the epidemic. It also places Johnson and his musical contemporaries in the context of American race relations and argues for the importance of music in the fight for civil rights. Finally, Alger analyzes Johnson’s major recordings in terms of technique and style. Distribution of an accompanying music CD will be coordinated with the release of this book.

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The View from the Back of the Band

The Life and Music of Mel Lewis

Chris Smith

Mel Lewis (1929-1990) was born Melvin Sokoloff to Jewish Russian immigrants in Buffalo, New York. He first picked up his father's drumsticks at the age of two and at 17 he was a full-time professional musician. The View from the Back of the Band is the first biography of this legendary jazz drummer. For over fifty years, Lewis provided the blueprint for how a drummer could subtly support any musical situation. While he made his name with Stan Kenton and Thad Jones, and with his band at the Village Vanguard, it was the hundreds of recordings that he made as a sideman and his ability to mentor young musicians that truly defined his career. Away from the drums, Lewis's passionate and outspoken personality made him one of jazz music's greatest characters. It is often through Lewis's own anecdotes, as well as many from the musicians who knew him best, that this book traces the career of one of the world's greatest drummers. Previously unpublished interviews, personal memoirs, photos, musical transcriptions, and a selected discography add to this comprehensive biography.

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