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From 1934 to 1954, Bing Crosby utterly dominated North American entertainment. Nobody has ever had as many hit records, and Crosby was the number one movie star five years in a row. The rise of Bing Crosby was the rise of North American popular culture itself. In Bing Crosby, the first volume of the definitive Crosby biography, award-winning music critic Gary Giddins chronicles the ascension of Bing's career. From Crosby's early recordings, to his triumph on Americas most popular radio show, to his first success in Hollywood, Giddins provides the most detailed study yet of the rise of a North American star. This is the first definitive biography of Crosby and was written with exclusive access to unpublished materials. Giddins Visions of Jazz won the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award. Bing Crosby was the first North American pop culture icon, and his career heavily influenced Sinatra and Elvis, as well as popular music itself.
In this vivid history of jazz, a respected critic and a leading scholar capture the excitement of America's unique music with intellectual bite, unprecedented insight, and the passion of unabashed fans. They explain what jazz is, where it came from, and who created it and why, all within the broader context of American life and culture. Emphasizing its African American roots, Jazz traces the history of the music over the last hundred years. From ragtime and blues to the international craze for swing, from the heated protests of the avant-garde to the radical diversity of today's artists, Jazz describes the travails and triumphs of musical innovators struggling for work, respect, and cultural acceptance set against the backdrop of American history, commerce, and politics. With vibrant photographs by legendary jazz chronicler Herman Leonard, Jazz is also an arresting visual history of a century of music.
Gary Giddins has been called "the best jazz writer in America today" (Esquire). Louis Armstrong has been called the most influential jazz musician of the century. Together this auspicious pairing has resulted in Satchmo, one of the most vivid and fascinating portraits ever drawn of perhaps the greatest figure in the history of American music. Available now at a new price, this text-only edition is the authoritative introduction to Armstrong's life and art for the curious newcomer, and offers fresh insight even for the serious student of Pops.
A brilliantly insightful and witty examination of beloved and little-known films, directors, and stars by one of America's most esteemed critics. In his illuminating new work, Gary Giddins explores the evolution of film, from the first moving pictures and peepshows to the digital era of DVDs and online video-streaming. New technologies have changed our experience of cinema forever; we have peeled away from the crowded theater to be home alone with classic cinema. Recounting the technological developments that films have undergone, Warning Shadows travels through time and across genres to explore the impact of the industry's most famous classics and forgotten gems. Essays such as "Houdini Escapes! From the Vaults! Of the Past!," "Edward G. Robinson, See," and "Prestige and Pretension (Pride and Prejudice)" capture the wit and magic of classic cinema. Each chapter--ranging from the horror films of Hitchcock to the fantastical frames of Disney--provides readers with engaging analyses of influential films and the directors and actors who made them possible.
Rick Martin loved music and the music loved him. He could pick up a tune so quickly that it didn't matter to the Cotton Club boss that he was underage, or to the guys in the band that he was just a white kid. He started out in the slums of LA with nothing, and he ended up on top of the game in the speakeasies and nightclubs of New York. But while talent and drive are all you need to make it in music, they aren't enough to make it through a life. Dorothy Baker's Young Man with a Horn is widely regarded as the first jazz novel, and it pulses with the music that defined an era. Baker took her inspiration from the artistry--though not the life--of legendary horn player Bix Beiderbecke, and the novel went on to be adapted into a successful movie starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, and Doris Day.
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