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Profil für Nicholas Ronai > Rezensionen

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Beiträge von Nicholas Ronai
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Nicholas Ronai "Nick Ronai" (Hamburg, Germany)
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1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year
1971 - Never a Dull Moment: Rock's Golden Year
von David Hepworth
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 14,95

5.0 von 5 Sternen A very thorough appraisal of an exciting year., 29. Mai 2016
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
David Hepworth takes a month by month view of the major events in the music scene during 1971 and comes up with some very interesting conclusions. He argues that many of those events were fundamental to the way that pop and rock developed both artistically and commercially over the succeeding decades. Hepworth is very thorough in his approach resorting to direct sources whenever he can rather than just relying on cuttings from the music and trade papers.

If you're in any way interested in the history of popular music, this book is a must read.


Godfather of the Music Business: Morris Levy (American Made Music)
Godfather of the Music Business: Morris Levy (American Made Music)
von Richard Carlin
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 33,49

5.0 von 5 Sternen The book is very good, the subject not so nice!, 30. April 2016
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I've recently read books about The Chess brothers and Sam Phillips both owners of pioneering record companies in the fifties and sixties. Although not always the most honest employers, the Chess bothers and Phillips did have a genuine interest in the welfare and development of their artists. In this book, however, we meet a character, Morris Levy, the owner of Roulette Records, who appears to have had no interest in developing his artists and unashamedly cheated them.

Levy realized very early on that the real money to be made in music is from owning the copyright of songs. In fact, he was not averse to adding his name, or those of his partners, to songs which he had absolutely no involvement in writing because he knew that, long-term, he could earn a lot of money that way. Levy spent a great deal of time and energy in acquiring the copyright on songs from a wide range of artists both directly or by buying song publishing companies especially where the back catalogue could be exploited.

Levy's main strength was in building a vast and complex array of inter-locking companies both within the music industry and beyond. If the deal could be financially worthwhile, he was willing to take a risk and was, in the main, successful but he had no interest in the long haul. His artists may have been popular for a relatively short time and, during that time, Levy would squeeze every dollar and cent out of that hit record always making sure that he benefitted financially, mostly at the expense of the artist who never really knew how much they should have received in royalties.

Many of Levy's partners were unsavoury characters possibly Mafia-related and it was those type of deals with such shady partners which finally resulted in Levy being investigated by the FBI. Over a long period his activities were observed by the authorities who finally brought him to court in 1989 where he was found guilty of "conspiracy to extort" but he didn't live long enough to be sentenced when he died in 1990.

Richard Carlin tells this story extremely well but there's nothing to like about his subject.


The Rise and Fall of EMI Records
The Rise and Fall of EMI Records
von Brian Southall
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 13,92

5.0 von 5 Sternen A very sad story, 30. April 2016
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
Brian Southall was a former director of EMI Records and his book is sad story of how a once proud record company was virtually ruined by businessmen with no idea how to run a record company. The book is very thorough in describing the complicated negotiations over a number of years which resulted in EMI becoming a shadow of its former self. Unfortunately, it is an example of what can happen when long-term development is sacrificed for short-term gain!


Garderobenwagen Kleiderständer GROSSO mit Schuhablage, 2 Kleiderstangen, höhenverstellbar, Metallrohr verchromt
Garderobenwagen Kleiderständer GROSSO mit Schuhablage, 2 Kleiderstangen, höhenverstellbar, Metallrohr verchromt

5.0 von 5 Sternen Very useful, 30. April 2016
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We needed some temporary clothes hanging space whilst part of the house was being redecorated. This worked perfectly on this occasion.


Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting
Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting
von Jimmy Webb
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 16,20

5.0 von 5 Sternen Expert advice on how to write a song, 30. April 2016
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Better known for his excellence as a songwriter, Jimmy Webb also writes extremely well about his craft. This book is not only informative but also very easy and interesting to read. He does become quite technical with the musical examples but he does his best to explain what he means and, if you have access to a piano, it rapidly becomes quite clear. I especially found the suggestions about lyric writing very useful. There is also some very handy advice about copyright and how to interest an artist in recording your song.


Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll
Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll
von Peter Guralnick
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 14,95

5.0 von 5 Sternen This book is a labour of love, 30. April 2016
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The first thing you should know is that this paperback book is 763 pages long! Not the easiest thing to read in bed but well worth the money. Peter Guralnick is an excellent writer and has written some of the finest books on American music history and this is no exception. There are other shorter biographies of Sam Phillips but this has to be the most thorough. Of course it helps that Guralnick knows his subject personally and much of the content is based upon personal interviews with Phillips, his family and many of the artists who recorded with Sun Records back in the 1950s and 1960s.

But this is not just the story of Sam Phillips and Sun Records because, in 1969, Phillips sold Sun Records and moved into other business areas mainly concentrating on radio stations although he did have a major interest in the Holiday Inn group which provided financial security. Phillips died in 2003 and Peter Guralnick's book is a true biography of the man covering all periods of his life.

Despite his closeness to Sam Phillips, Guralnick maintains true objectivity in his assessment of his subject which allows the readers to make their own judgement. I'm not sure I would have liked Sam Phillips if I had met him but the book is excellent.


Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock
Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock
von Barney Hoskyns
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 23,75

5.0 von 5 Sternen A fascinating history of life and the arts in Woodstock, 30. April 2016
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Barney Hoskyns can always be relied upon to tell an excellent story. This time he has turned to look at the "socio-cultural history of Woodstock the town". This book has very little to do with the famous Woodstock festival of 1969 although it is mentioned. More importantly, it focuses on the town of Woodstock itself and describes its development and importance in the late 60s and beyond. The cast of characters is long and exceptional including Bob Dylan, the Band, Janis Joplin, Paul Butterfield, Todd Rundgren and a host of others. However, the main thread in the book and the link to all these characters is the manager and businessman, Albert Grossman.

Starting with his relationship to Bob Dylan and moving through the story of his involvement with the other main players, Albert Grossman is seen as the catalyst which led to the growing importance of Woodstock as place to "get away from it all". Grossman's business acumen, his reputation for "getting things done" and his growing influence in the music world gave him the financial ability to buy up large areas of property which he could offer to his clients. Barney Hoskyns' story details the complex relationships which developed and foundered in this small part of America; it tells of success and failure. It is both fascinating and, ultimately, quite sad.

Although it wasn't actually the site of the Festival, the town of Woodstock never really recovered from that association and it rapidly became a place for hippy pilgrimages. The local business community was happy to cash in on the myth with souvenir shops and health food stores.

I strongly recommend this book.


Spinning Blues Into Gold: The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records
Spinning Blues Into Gold: The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records
von Nadine Cohodas
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 14,97

5.0 von 5 Sternen An in-depth look at the development of a ground-breaking record company, 30. April 2016
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Chess records is remembered mainly today for its discovery and development of some of the most influential blues artists in the 50s and 60s. Those early recordings of such artists as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Etta James and Bo Diddley continue to be outstanding examples of the vitality of American music at that time. This excellent book by Nadine Cohodas tells the story behind the recordings and the lives of the record company owners, Leonard and Phil Chess. Cohodas tells a story which is fairly typical of a specific time in America when young immigrant entrepreneurs were prepared to take chances and where success could bring rich rewards. Both Leonard and Phil Chess worked hard to build a business empire which eventually consisted of a number of record labels and influential radio stations.

Like many of their contemporaries in the recording world, the Chess brothers' dealings with their artists could be seen as exploitation but, it is argued, that they had a genuine concern for the success and development of those artists even if they were not always totally honest in their financial reporting and allocation of royalties. Suffice to say this was very typical of independent record label owners at that time.

What we have, however, is a major body of work which still stands out as some of the most exciting and innovative music of the period.


Swahili
Swahili
Preis: EUR 16,67

4.0 von 5 Sternen Some very nice early Clark Terry., 6. Dezember 2015
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Swahili (Audio CD)
The best part of this CD is the first section which features a great line-up of Clark Terry, Jimmy Cleveland, Cecil Payne, Horace Silver, Oscar Pettiford and Art Blakey with arrangements by Quincy Jones. Recorded in early 1955 it demonstrates the gradual development of Clark Terry's individual sound and style which he would take to new heights in the 1960s and beyond. He is surrounded by totally excellent musicians - notably the very enjoyable trombone playing of Jimmy Cleveland. The choice of tunes is good and varied and the arrangements are imaginative.

Unfortunately the second part of the CD features very little of Clark Terry and a lot of the clarinet playing of Jimmy Hamilton. There is very little in the way of arranging and it is basically a blowing session on a series of standard tunes with a few original numbers thrown in. The liner notes for this Lonehill Jazz compilation concentrate on the first session and say nothing about the clarinet group which was recorded in December 1954.

A bit disappointing hence only 4 stars for this package but Clark Terry is worth 10 stars!


Jeru's Journey: The Life and Music of Gerry Mulligan (Hal Leonard Jazz Biography Series)
Jeru's Journey: The Life and Music of Gerry Mulligan (Hal Leonard Jazz Biography Series)
von Sanford Josephson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 18,79

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5.0 von 5 Sternen At last! An excellent biography of Gerry Mulligan., 15. November 2015
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This book is an extremely welcome addition to the Hal Leonard Jazz Biography Series. Since Gerry Mulligan died in 1996 we have had to wait a long time for this book but it has certainly been worth waiting for. The author, Sanford Josephson, has done an excellent job of pulling together material from a number of valuable sources, most notably the video "Listen: Gerry Mulligan" (see the Gerry Mulligan website) and the Gerry Mulligan/Ken Poston recorded autobiography "Jeru: In the Words of Gerry Mulligan". Josephson has also relied heavily on newspaper and magazine articles but, at the same time, conducted over forty interviews with friends and acquaintances of Mulligan including his wife Franca.

The resulting picture of Gerry Mulligan is one of an exceptionally, talented musician, composer, arranger and bandleader who was virtually self-taught and whose career covered an extended period with many ups and downs. What was new to me was to discover that Mulligan, always a great melody writer, was also a talented song and lyric writer who, apparently, always wished he could have written a successful Broadway show. Mulligan's early work on the "Birth of The Cool" recording sessions with Miles Davis and Gil Evans, his innovative piano-less quartets with Chet Baker, Bob Brookmeyer and Art Farmer and his Concert Jazz Band would be enough to guarantee him a place in jazz history but he went on to achieve much more.

With the recording of his superb album "The Age of Steam" in 1971 Mulligan broke fresh ground introducing electric instruments into his "big band" concept and it is here that some of his best later work with Bob Brookmeyer is evident. The partnership of Mulligan and Brookmeyer was especially fruitful as they complemented each other so well both as performing musicians (sometimes adding piano to their quartet outings) and arrangers. Subsequently Gerry Mulligan went on to perform live in a variety of formats but mostly with his piano/bass and drums arrangement but often moving back to a bigger band for recordings, for example "Walk on the Water" and "Dragonfly".

Encouraged by Zubin Mehta, Gerry wrote a number of orchestral and ensemble pieces some of which featured his baritone sax but in 1992 he embarked on a project entitled "Re-Birth of the Cool" which re-visited the music he had been so involved with at the beginning of his career. It is interesting to note that a number of the contributors to Sanford Josephson's book comment on the lack of recognition Gerry received for his work on the original recordings especially considering the amount of writing and arranging he contributed.

An excellent book. Highly recommended.


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