Soul Bag of Clichy, France, reviews Mark Miller's Way Down That Lonesome Road: Lonnie Johnson in Toronto
PLEASE NOTE NEW ISBN
The Battle of the Five Spot is an engaging look at a milestone in jazz history. In 1959, when the California saxophonist Ornette Coleman brought his quartet to New York’s Five Spot Café, the music spurred a stormy controversy, and a struggle between old and new styles of jazz that has never quite subsided. David Lee explores the debate around Coleman’s innovation in terms of its relationships to social change and issues of power within arts communities, referring to such disparate sources as writer Norman Mailer (a Five Spot regular), composer Leonard Bernstein (who leaped to his feet at the end of one Coleman set and declared that “this is the greatest thing that has ever happened in jazz”) and sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. The latter’s theory of artistic “fields,” in Lee’s accomplished prose, becomes part of a unique, lively and deeply postmodern look at how and why the soft-spoken Coleman’s exciting new music changed the way jazz was played, listened to and talked about.
[Broomer's] original and informed approach to his subject suits Braxton's wide-ranging and eclectic output...
[Mark Miller] is as good at describing Nichols' music as he is at capturing and organizing the details of Nichols' life and even his states of mind.
This is a major work about a major musician whose time must surely come. Mark Miller's eminently accessible book will make Herbie Nichols' eminently accessible music to a wider and more appreciative audience.
Miller's work is thorough, enlightening and a very readable achievement, filling a vital gap in jazz history.
HERBIE NICHOLS: A JAZZIST’S LIFE is, in its own quiet way, equal and perhaps superior to larger competition. It could fascinate a reader who had never heard Nichols on record or in person: Miller is that fine a writer and researcher.
If you want a primer on Braxton circa 2009 – everything from his marching-band obsessions to the cultural significance of the cardigan – [Time and Anthony Braxton] is the ideal place to go.