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Fifties Jazz Talk

An Oral Retrospective

Gordon Jack

London-based musician and journalist Gordon Jack's method is to let the musicians tell their own stories with minimum intervention, in the manner of Ira Gitler's classic Swing to Bop. Famous or obscure, these more than 30 musicians who came to prominence in the 1950s each has a story to tell, and Jack captures the style and tone of his interviewees in this oral retrospective of what may have been jazz's last golden age.

The musicians are: Gene Allen, Mose Allison, Dave Bailey, Chuck Berghofer, Eddie Bert, Bob Brookmeyer, Pete Christlieb, Bill Crow, Joe Dodge, Bob Enevoldsen, Don Ferrara, Herb Geller, Corky Hale, Peter Ind, Frank Isola, Lee Konitz, Stan Levey, Jack Montrose, Gerry Mulligan, the Gerry Mulligan Quartet (with Larry Bunker, Chico Hamilton, Carson Smith, Bob Whitlock), Lennie Niehaus, Jack Nimitz, Hod O'Brien, Bill Perkins, Bud Shank, Phil Urso, and Phil Woods.

Jack's introductions and notes unobtrusively sketch out the life and achievements of each musician, and there are photographs of each one, many of them taken by Jack himself.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 272Size: 7 x 9
978-0-8108-4997-6 • Paperback • August 2004 • $60.00 • (£39.95)
Series: Studies in Jazz
Gordon Jack is a freelance writer and has been record reviewer for Jazz Journal International for the past ten years.
Chapter 1 Foreword
Chapter 2 Acknowledgments
Chapter 3 Introduction
Chapter 4 1. Gene Allen
Chapter 5 2. Mose Allison
Chapter 6 3. Dave Bailey
Chapter 7 4. Chuck Berghofer
Chapter 8 5. Eddie Bert
Chapter 9 6. Bob Brookmeyer
Chapter 10 7. Pete Christlieb
Chapter 11 8. Bill Crow
Chapter 12 9. Joe Dodge
Chapter 13 10. Bob Enevoldsen
Chapter 14 11. Don Ferrara
Chapter 15 12. Herb Geller
Chapter 16 13. Corky Hale
Chapter 17 14. Peter Ind
Chapter 18 15. Frank Isola
Chapter 19 16. Lee Konitz
Chapter 20 17. Stan Levey
Chapter 21 18. Jack Montrose
Chapter 22 19. Gerry Mulligan
Chapter 23 20. Gerry Mulligan Quartet, 1952-1953 (with Larry Bunker, Chico Hamilton, Carson Smith, and Bob Whitlock)
Chapter 24 21. Lennie Niehaus
Chapter 25 22. Jack Nimitz
Chapter 26 23. Hod O'Brien
Chapter 27 24. Bill Perkins
Chapter 28 25. Bub Shank
Chapter 29 26. Phil Urso
Chapter 30 27. Phil Woods
Chapter 31 Bibliography
Chapter 32 Index
Chapter 33 About the Author
Gordon Jack is one of the jazz world's most skillful interviewers. He asks all the right questions and then gets out of the way, letting his subjects reveal themselves. What a pleasure to have all this material collected in one book!
Bill Crow, author of From Birdland to Broadway(1992, Oxford University Press)

[Gordon Jack's] knowledge of the period and the recordings it produced is unsurpassed...I guarantee that any readers who thought they knew all there was to know about the thirty musicians featured in this book will be in for a surprise.
Alun Morgan, author of Modern Jazz: A Series of Developments since 1939

...excellent book...Great humor appears throughout, whether in descriptions of characters like altoist Gene Quill or in quotes from well-known wits like Al Cohn or Zoot Sims.

The book is interesting reading because every musician speaks his own mind. Many fascinating and humorous details surface along the way...This is an important publication because - to my knowledge - no other book treats the history of jazz in the 1950s this way.
Frank Büchmann-Møller; Jazz Special

...a useful source book. largely authoritative and dependable.
Jazz Review

The merit of such a book as this lies in the balance it strikes between the familiar and the unfamiliar. People such as Lee Konitz, Bob Brookmeyer and Bud Shank have been interviewed often whereas Don Ferrara, Gene Allen and Joe Dodge have spoken far less often. If anything, one might have liked more from some of these minor figures. But it's a job well done.