A Life in Jazz
Danny Barker (1909 1994) was born when jazz was still in its infancy,and by the time of his death he was known as both a master of the idiom and a guardian of its history. Storyteller, researcher, songwriter,performer, and mentor, Barker was a true griot an elder statesman of jazz and an international representative of New Orleans and African American culture. In more than sixty years as a working musician, he appeared on more than a thousand recordings and penned dozens of original songs.
A Life in Jazz, first published in 1986, represents decades of work Barker undertook to write the intertwined stories of his life and music. His carefully crafted set pieces range from hilarious to harrowing, and he shares memories of jazz greats such as Jelly Roll Morton, Cab Calloway, and Dizzy Gillespie.
This illustrated edition of A Life in Jazz brings Barker s autobiography back into print, accompanied by more than one hundred images that bring his story to life. Gwen Thompkins, host of public radio s Music Inside Out, reflects on Barker s legacy in her introduction, and the complete discography and song catalog showcase the breadth of Barker s work. Th rough his struggles, triumphs, escapades, and musings, A Life in Jazz reflects the freedom, complexity, and beauty of this thoroughly American, black music tradition.
Danny was a charACTOR and a half. He was a spiritualized guy, and he could always find something to write on. Danny was a blessing. --Dr. John, Grammy-winning musician and songwriterA Life in Jazz is a fantastic narrative that offers not only a window onto the history of New Orleans jazz and New Orleans culture, but also into the heart and mind of Danny Barker. He single-handedly, through an intervention, saved the tradition of New Orleans brass bands in the 1970s. I don t think that is putting it too strongly. --Bruce Raeburn, curator, Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University
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