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Book Reviews249 Toward the end ofher memoir, Foster realizes that she has "piggybacked my mother's past, my soul wrapped up in the hard, flinty place with its seething rage, its shaming fear. And I did this for the oldest of reasons: the fear ofbeing invisible, ignored." In All the Lost Girls, it is evident that she is no longer lost. Foster's own true, precise, and powerful voice is impossible to ignore. Perhaps the finest irony is that Foster's mother demanded success, and that, by being an accomplished writer, Foster has now achieved considerable success—but by teUing her family's secrets. Reviewed by Sue William Silverman Fakebook: Improvisations on a Journey Back to Jazz by Richard Terrill NewYork: Limelight Editions, 2000 255 pages, paper, $15 The title ofthis book may seem to suggest it's another account ofsome jazz great or greats, fraught with tales of ecstatic musical genius and dangerous living, possibly a book published to take advantage of a public interest renewed by Ken Burns s latest TV documentary. Great jazz musicians and their music are certainly examined, but this book is mainly about not-sogreat ones—particularly the author, who started out playing gigs at Holiday Inn lounges and Elks lodges in cities like Fargo and Duluth and winds up playing in the Bistro Roma restaurant in Mankato, who has to split the usuaUy -$100 payment with the rest of the band and therefore has to have a day job, who must finally come to terms with his own—dare we say it in the land ofthe American Dream?—unsuccess. This is a book about passing from the open horizons ofyouth to the confines of middle age—and about how lucky one can feel about the arrival. It is also about jazz, as both art form and metaphor. And about beauty, obsession, mastery, friendship, sorrow, awareness, love, and America. TerriU's style is engaging. His sentences are straightforward, concise, and lucid. His approach to his subject is similar to that of a musician's to a fakebook , an item Terrill defines as: a coUection of melodies or "heads" with the chord changes, so that a musician can read the tunes and changes instead ofhaving to play solely by ear and memory. The name "fakebook" comes from the old coinage that a musician who is improvising over a set of chord changes is "faking," making his or her 250Fourth Genre own melody. The fakebook is a place to start, the structure upon which music is completed. In these essays, Terrfll improvises over a set of central subjects, feeling free, like the jazz musician, to foUow his interests and insights where they lead him—but with the discipline and the knowledge of his medium that aUow a good improviser to create something coherent and whole. TerriU sees jazz as a particularly American art form, but not just because it was invented in this country. The jazz musician is a "soaring, floating bird, American individualist. Uninhibited, the player Ustens to the other players, takes what he has taught himself, what she has taught herself, and the music just pours out." This form of music, says TerriU, is a branch of the neoromanticism he sees pervading modern culture. "Jazz," he observes, "with its individualism (soloing), its spontaneity (improvising), its defining itself against popular and commercial norms, is a very romantic undertaking." Likewise the creation and sustaining ofAmerica. This romantic American genre attracted the young Terrill, who aspired to be a professional saxophonist, perhaps one who could play beside Coltrane or Getz. His musical talent was recognized early, though vaguely, by a piano teacher, his Aunt Mildred—who taught him, in addition to pieces by "Batch," "Greg," and "Choppin," that immortal opus of beginner ditties "Down at the Airport the Windsock is Flying." His talent was recognized more clearly, if a little incongruously, by a retired Air Force sergeant named Al MiUonig, who demonstrated to him what it was to have a passion for playingjazz saxophone—and who, thereby, lit the same fire in TerriU. But as TerriU's musical education progressed, even to the university level, he began to recognize his limits, feeling more and more on the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1544-1733
Print ISSN
1522-3868
Pages
pp. 249-252
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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