Conversations in Jazz

Conversations in Jazz : The Ralph J. Gleason Interviews

4.11 (27 ratings by Goodreads)
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An extraordinary collection of revealing, personal interviews with fourteen jazz music legends During his nearly forty years as a music journalist, Ralph J. Gleason recorded many in-depth interviews with some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. These informal sessions, conducted mostly in Gleason's Berkeley, California, home, have never been transcribed and published in full until now. This remarkable volume, a must-read for any jazz fan, serious musician, or musicologist, reveals fascinating, little-known details about these gifted artists, their lives, their personas, and, of course, their music. Bill Evans discusses his battle with severe depression, while John Coltrane talks about McCoy Tyner's integral role in shaping the sound of the Coltrane quartet, praising the pianist enthusiastically. Included also are interviews with Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Jon Hendricks, and the immortal Duke Ellington, plus seven more of the most notable names in twentieth-century jazz.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 22mm | 590g
  • United States
  • English
  • 0300214529
  • 9780300214529
  • 514,849

Review quote

"Ralph Gleason had a masterfully succinct interviewing style, and he elicited the candid thoughts of his subjects whose responses create a time capsule of a fascinating moment in jazz. This book is a portal into the mystic and insular world of jazz musicians and their interest in both tradition and innovation. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about how the music is understood by the people who play it."-Lenny Pickett -- Lenny Pickett "Louis Armstrong once declared: 'What we play is life.' For his part, Ralph J. Gleason venerated and joyfully embraced the music of life and the musicians who played it, and the the memorable interviews that he conducted with the extraordinary jazz creators featured in this book are themselves revelatory conversation-performances that illuminate with wit, depth, love, and insight the life and soul of music itself."-Jonathan Cott -- Jonathan Cott "What a great opportunity to eavesdrop on these conversations with some of my musical heroes. Trane, Duke, Sonny. Are you kidding?"-Steve Elson -- Steve Elson "Reading Conversations in Jazz is like digging up a chest full of buried treasure-fourteen previously unpublished, at times startlingly frank interviews with some of the greatest jazz musicians of the twentieth century, conducted by one of the most gifted journalists ever to write about jazz. This is an important, immensely readable book."-Terry Teachout, author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong and Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington -- Terry Teachout "For fans of jazz from the mid-twentieth century, these interviews will prove fascinating."-Booklist Booklist "[A] treasure trove of previously unavailable interviews by a premier journalist who unfailingly asked perceptive and probing questions."-Library Journal Library Journal "A godsend to folks like me who already know and admire [Gleason's] work - and a standard setter for those who should know him."-Felix Contreras, NPR Books -- Felix Contreras NPR Books "One of the happier publishing surprises of the year."-Jeff Simon, Buffalo News -- Jeff Simon Buffalo News "The kind of righteous combination of sociocultural theory and radical politics that, today, you might find on Mark Fisher's K-punk blog, or in the odd article Ben Watson is able to sneak past editors. In 1970, Gleason wrote "If there is no way to change this world without killing half of us, then fuck it. I'll do my best to have a ball and go out swinging." The world still needs changing. We still need writing like this."-Daniel Spicer, The Wire -- Daniel Spicer The Wire "Fresh and defining anthologies of the writer."-Will Hermes, Rolling Stone -- Will Hermes Rolling Stone "A fine start to what should be a shelf of books on Gleason and his achievement."-Beyond Chron Beyond Chron "Two important new collections ... both make for absorbing and instructive reading, in quite different ways."-Nate Chinen, Jazz Times -- Nate Chinen Jazz Times "Time and again Gleason helps an artist explain his essence at a crucial point in his career, capturing a very important moment in time."-Downbeat Downbeat "The experience of reading this book is more akin to eavesdropping on private conversations: indeed you almost feel as if you're in the room with Gleason as he gets into a discussion with Jones over the pitfalls of being a bandleader, and listens to Coltrane meditate on what motivates him in his exploration of sound."-Charles Waring, Record Collector -- Charles Waring Record Collector
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About Ralph J. Gleason

One of the most influential music journalists of his era, Ralph J. Gleason (1917-1975) was co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine and the author of numerous articles and three highly regarded books on music and musicians. Toby Gleason is a veteran jazz radio producer, programmer, and host, and a former assistant editor at Rolling Stone.
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Rating details

27 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 37% (10)
4 41% (11)
3 19% (5)
2 4% (1)
1 0% (0)
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