Trumpet Blues
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Trumpet Blues : The Life of Harry James

3.85 (27 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Swing is back in style, and with it a renewed interest in the Big Band Era. And few players dominated that era more than Harry James, whose soaring trumpet solos and romantic hit tunes influenced popular music for a generation. Now, Peter J. Levinson, who knew Harry James personally, has written a revealing biography of this jazz icon, based on nearly 200 interviews with musicians and friends. Harry James led a truly colorful life, and in Trumpet Blues Levinson captures it all. Beginning with James's childhood in a traveling circus, we follow the young trumpeter's meteoric rise in the 1930s and witness his electrifying performances with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. We see how James formed his own band in 1939, an incubator for many pop music stars of the 1940s and '50s, including Frank Sinatra, Connie Haines, Dick Haymes, Helen Forrest, and Kitty Kallen. Combined with James's superb musicianship, peerless trumpet technique and talented sidemen, this stellar group dominated the war years and the immediate post-war period. And James himself, especially after his marriage to film goddess Betty Grable, became one of America's most famous personalities and lived like true Hollywood royalty. Levinson describes their twenty-two-year marriage with insight and sympathy. But he shows how James's marriage-and his triumphant late-1950s comeback in Nevada's casinos-were slowly undermined by his penchant for compulsive gambling, womanizing, and alcoholism. He gives us the inside story of James's sybaritic lifestyle, and probes the profound psychological reasons for James's destructive behavior. The first biography ever written on Harry James, Trumpet Blues is a scintillating portrait of Swing's brightest star-his life, his loves, and the music that defined an era.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 152.4 x 220.98 x 25.4mm | 498.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 16 pp halftone plates
  • 019514239X
  • 9780195142396
  • 808,215

About Peter J. Levinson

Peter J. Levinson, who knew Harry James for 24 years, was the foremost jazz publicist for nearly two decades, and still represents a few select clients. Currently, he is at work on a biography of Nelson Riddle. He lives in Malibu, California.show more

Review quote

excellent biography ... Music biographies really don't come any better than this superb book. * Andrew Vine, Yorkshire Post *show more

Table of contents

Preface ; Acknowledgments ; Everette and Maybelle ; Louise and Ben ; The Kingdom of Swing ; Ciribiribin ; You Made Me Love You ; Trees, The Legs, and The Lip ; Hollywood Royalty ; The In-Between Years ; Back to Basie ; I Don't Want to Walk Without You ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Indexshow more

Rating details

27 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 41% (11)
4 22% (6)
3 26% (7)
2 4% (1)
1 7% (2)
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