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Bebop Spoken There

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Goin' Home:The Uncompromising Life and Music of Ken Colyer by Mike Pointon and Ray Smith

Let me first say that this is arguably the greatest book ever devoted to a jazz musician! It lists just about every event in Colyer's, sadly too short, life. As such, it is not a "book at bedtime" nor  a light read on the train. Truth is it's not a book to be read at all! It's a 350 plus page large omnibus of letters and memories from those associated with the bearded trumpet player.
And photos!
It's a book to dip into - frequently!
There are magnificent photos of the various bands plus some really bizarre items such as the cartoon strip from teen magazine Valentine that shows Ken falling in love with Delphine. This is described as "Valentine's Roving Reporter visits the top stars of show business and hears their true love stories first hand - This Week: Ken Colyer and Delphine.".
There's the comment that he was a fan of Frank Sinatra which may surprise the mouldy figs (if they still exist!) and that indeed Ken's phrasing of a melody often bore similarities to Sinatra's take.
There is so much in this book that I never knew about Colyer. To be honest, he was just another traddie to me but the man's sincerity and his belief in the music he loved emerges. Nevertheless, a book such as this will do much to keep the memory alive.
As for me I'm going to have to dig out the 10" lp. and the tapes etc.
The book, incidentally, comes with a 19 track CD.
Memories of such a happy time in Newcastle at the New Orleans Club and other Hot Spots.
A good read that may take the rest of your life but if it does I don't think you'll mind!

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