Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

The Best Gig in Town: Jazz Artist at the White House 1969-1974

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
The Best Gig in Town: Jazz Artist at the White House 1969 -1974
Edward Allan Faine
229 Pages
ISBN: #9780985795245
IM Press
2014

There is something puzzling and curious about a book documenting jazz performances at the White House specifically during the Nixon Administration. A thoroughly divisive historical figure, President Richard Nixon, has on only rare occasions since his resignation, been treated in a positive, or even neutral, light. Author Edward Allan Faine seizes the proverbial bull by the horns treating these circumstances in the White House between 1969 and 1974 as historical artifact.

Author Faine previously published Ellington at the White House 1969 (IM Press, 2013) addressing Duke Ellington's 70th birthday party held there, more than likely stimulating the genesis of this present book. He opens The Best Gig in Town: Jazz Artist at the White House 1969 -1974 with a reprise of that earlier book and, using the same approach, describes the thirteen jazz-related performances held at the White House during his presidency. Framed, thusly Faine is able to devote specific attention to an interesting assortment of talent that might not otherwise received treatment within a single article.

"Jazz" performances at the White House during this time included, singers Pearl Bailey, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra; pianists Henry Mancini, Bobby Short, and Billy Taylor; New Orleans musicians Pete Fountain and Al Hirt; and the instrumental groups the Modern Jazz Quartet and the World's Greatest Jazz Band. There exists a likelihood of quibbling regarding whether Pete Fountain and Al Hirt can be considered jazz musicians, but to not do so harms the book's premise.

Impressive is the depth of author's research and the detail with which he describes these artists and their performances. Faine additionally provides background on the songs performed and includes comments on the performances by writers in attendance. As such, Faine's book provides a visual and aural snapshot of the period, one that grows dimmer and more misunderstood the further we get from it. Of Nixon, it helps us to remember that he was human after all, flawed as we all tend to be. It also shows the President in a more relaxed and genial environment that he would ultimately find himself at the end of his presidency.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes for Jazz Saxophone Book Reviews
Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes for Jazz...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2018
Read Roger Daltrey: Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite - My Story Book Reviews
Roger Daltrey: Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite - My Story
by Doug Collette
Published: December 2, 2018
Read Hearing Beethoven: A Story of Musical Loss and Discovery by Robin Wallace Book Reviews
Hearing Beethoven: A Story of Musical Loss and Discovery by...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 24, 2018
Read More Than A Jazz Legend: Dexter Gordon and His Search For Personal Integrity Book Reviews
More Than A Jazz Legend: Dexter Gordon and His Search For...
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 1, 2018
Read Alligator founder provides blues fans insider look at running of label Book Reviews
Alligator founder provides blues fans insider look at...
by Jim Trageser
Published: October 30, 2018
Read Johnny Cash: The Life and Legacy of the Man in Black Book Reviews
Johnny Cash: The Life and Legacy of the Man in Black
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: October 27, 2018
Read "The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums" Book Reviews The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums
by Roger Crane
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "My Life in the Key of E" Book Reviews My Life in the Key of E
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: March 19, 2018
Read "The Other Night at Quinn's" Book Reviews The Other Night at Quinn's
by David A. Orthmann
Published: August 17, 2018