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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Book Reviews

Da Capo Best Music Writing 2004

By Published: April 3, 2005

Think of [Ray] Charles as Louis Armstrong's direct descendant, and Nelson as a cross between Bing Crosby, Jimmie Rodgers, and Woody Guthrie. [Ray Charles and Willie Nelson's] duets are like oil and vinegar, always about to separate if not stirred up, delicious because they don't. Thanks to the gospel-jazz core of their artistic personalities, their encompassing self-assurance in their craft's portability of application, they make singing symbolic of existential struggle. It helps they love what Charlie Parker loved most about country music-storytelling.

That is piping good writing and this is perhaps the best Da Capo Best Music Writing of the lot. I recommend that Paul Bresnick be retained as series editor. He was able to salvage Matt Groening's groaner and sharply direct Jonathan Lethem's efforts. But, Mickey Hart proves to be king here, in this most satisfying volume in the series.



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