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Book Cover for: The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America, Larry Tye

The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America

Larry Tye

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Satchel and Bobby Kennedy, a sweeping and spellbinding portrait of the longtime kings of jazz--Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie--who, born within a few years of one another, overcame racist exclusion and violence to become the most popular entertainers on the planet.

This is the story of three revolutionary American musicians, the maestro jazzmen who orchestrated the chords that throb at the soul of twentieth-century America.

    Duke Ellington, the grandson of slaves who was christened Edward Kennedy Ellington, was a man whose story is as layered and nuanced as his name suggests and whose music transcended category.Louis Daniel Armstrong was born in a New Orleans slum so tough it was called The Battlefield and, at age seven, got his first musical instrument, a ten-cent tin horn that drew buyers to his rag-peddling wagon and set him on the road to elevating jazz into a pulsating force for spontaneity and freedom.William James Basie, too, grew up in a world unfamiliar to white fans--the son of a coachman and laundress who dreamed of escaping every time the traveling carnival swept into town, and who finally engineered his getaway with help from Fats Waller.

What is far less known about these groundbreakers is that they were bound not just by their music or even the discrimination that they, like nearly all Black performers of their day, routinely encountered. Each defied and ultimately overcame racial boundaries by opening America's eyes and souls to the magnificence of their music. In the process they wrote the soundtrack for the civil rights movement.

Based on more than 250 interviews, this exhaustively researched book brings alive the history of Black America in the early-to-mid 1900s through the singular lens of the country's most gifted, engaging, and enduring African-American musicians.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Mariner Books
  • Publish Date: May 7th, 2024
  • Pages: 416
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.06in - 5.98in - 1.57in - 1.25lb
  • EAN: 9780358380436
  • Categories: MusicAfrican American & BlackGenres & Styles - Jazz

About the Author

Tye, Larry: -

Larry Tye is the New York Times bestselling author of Bobby Kennedy and Satchel, as well as Demagogue, Superman, The Father of Spin, Home Lands, and Rising from the Rails, and coauthor, with Kitty Dukakis, of Shock. Previously an award-winning reporter at the Boston Globe and a Nieman fellow at Harvard University, he now runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship. He lives on Cape Cod.

Critics’ reviews

Praise for this book

"[Tye] has a keen gift for narrative storytelling and an ability to depict his subject with almost novelistic emotional detail." -- Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, on Bobby Kennedy

"Tye captures 'Low Blow Joe' in all his shambolic ingloriousness . . . The result is an epic expose that . . . will leave [readers] shaking their heads over the rise and fall of the greatest demagogue in American history, with the possible exception of the current White House incumbent." -- Boston Globe, on Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

"Rescuing an icon from the edge of oblivion is no easy task; making room for him in the collective memory is harder still. But revealing his profound influence on our social and cultural institutions today requires insight and imagination. Larry Tye has both." -- San Francisco Chronicle, on Rising from the Rails: The Pullman Porters and the Making of the Black Middle Class

"[Mr. Tye] succeeds wonderfully in illustrating the often creepy power of our opinion makers." -- New York Times, on The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations

"Knowing Satchel Paige is knowing nobody like him. This is a superb book about an outstanding man." -- Yogi Berra on Satchel