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145 Featured Titles

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Exam Copy
Cubano Be, Cubano Bop
One Hundred Years of Jazz in Cuba
Written by Leonardo Acosta
Translated by Daniel Whitesell
Foreword by Paquito D'Rivera


Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: September 17, 2003
Price: $29.95
ISBN: 978-1-58834-147-1 (1-58834-147-X)

Based on unprecedented research in Cuba, the direct testimony of scores of Cuban musicians, and the author’s unique experience as a prominent jazz musician, Cubano Be, Cubano Bop is destined to take its place among the classics of jazz history. The work pays tribute not only to a distinguished lineage of... Read more >

Exam Copy
The Ultimate Guitar Book

Written by Tony Bacon


Format: Trade Paperback, 192 pages
Publisher: Knopf
On Sale: October 15, 1997
Price: $35.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-70090-3 (0-375-70090-0)

The Definitive Reference Work on the Guitar, and the Most Beautiful Book on the Subject Ever Produced

A stunning visual guide to the history and development of this instrument—featuring specially commissioned photographs of famous, rare, and vintage guitars, from the earliest acoustics to the latest electrics. Packed with construction and design information... Read more >

Exam Copy
If Beale Street Could Talk

Written by James Baldwin


Format: Trade Paperback, 208 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: October 10, 2006
Price: $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-307-27593-6 (0-307-27593-0)

In this honest and stunning novel, James Baldwin has given America a moving story of love in the face of injustice. Told through the eyes of Tish, a nineteen-year-old girl, in love with Fonny, a young sculptor who is the father of her child, Baldwin’s story mixes the sweet and the... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Main Lines, Blood Feasts, and Bad Taste
A Lester Bangs Reader
Written by Lester Bangs
Edited by John Morthland


Format: Trade Paperback, 432 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: August 12, 2003
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-0-375-71367-5 (0-375-71367-0)

Before his untimely death in 1982, Lester Bangs was inarguably the most influential critic of rock and roll. Writing in hyper-intelligent Benzedrine prose that calls to mind Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson, he eschewed all conventional thinking as he discussed everything from Black Sabbath being the first truly Catholic band... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung
The Work of a Legendary Critic: Rock'N'Roll as Literature and Literature as Rock 'N'Roll
Written by Lester Bangs


Format: Trade Paperback, 416 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: September 12, 1988
Price: $17.00
ISBN: 978-0-679-72045-4 (0-679-72045-6)

The paperback edition of the wild and brilliant writings of Lester Bangs—the most outrageous and popular rock critic of the 1970s—edited and with an introduction by the reigning dean of rock critics, Greil Marcus. Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
My Song
A Memoir of Art, Race, and Defiance
Written by Harry Belafonte and Michael Shnayerson


Format: Trade Paperback, 480 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: November 13, 2012
Price: $17.00
ISBN: 978-0-307-47342-4 (0-307-47342-2)

An eloquently told personal account of an era of enormous cultural and political change, which reveals Harry Belafonte as not only one of America’s greatest entertainers, but also one of our most profoundly influential activists.

Harry Belafonte spent his childhood in both Harlem and Jamaica, where the toughness of the city and... Read more >

Exam Copy
My Song
A Memoir
Written by Harry Belafonte and Michael Shnayerson


Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Publisher: Knopf
On Sale: October 11, 2011
Price: $30.50
ISBN: 978-0-307-27226-3 (0-307-27226-5)

Harry Belafonte is not just one of the greatest entertainers of our time; he has led one of the great American lives of the last century. Now, this extraordinary icon tells us the story of that life, giving us its full breadth, letting us share in the struggles, the tragedies, and... Read more >

Exam Copy
Guide to Sonatas
Music for One or Two Instruments
Edited by Melvin Berger


Format: Trade Paperback, 224 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: December 1, 1990
Price: $15.00
ISBN: 978-0-385-41302-2 (0-385-41302-5)

An indispensable guide to the sonata form. Includes descriptions in nontechnical language of over two hundred of the best-known sonatas. Designed to help all music lovers deepen their understanding and enjoyment of the classical repertoire Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Puccini Without Excuses
A Refreshing Reassessment of the World's Most Popular Composer
Written by William Berger


Format: Trade Paperback, 480 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: November 8, 2005
Price: $18.00
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7778-6 (1-4000-7778-8)

Puccini is the most beloved composer of opera in the world: one quarter of all opera performances in the U.S. are of his operas, his music pervades movie soundtracks, and his plots have infiltrated our popular culture. But, although Puccini’s art still captivates audiences and the popularity of such works as... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Verdi With a Vengeance
An Energetic Guide to the Life and Complete Works of the King of Opera
Written by William Berger


Format: Trade Paperback, 512 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: September 12, 2000
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-0-375-70518-2 (0-375-70518-X)

Discover the world of the most popular opera composer of all time: entombed lovers (Aida), tragic courtesans (La Traviata), Shakespearean heroes (Otello and Macbeth), and even Attila the Hun (Attila) populate Verdi's operas, and this introductory guide shows us why Verdi's music is coming back--"with a vengeance."

From the composer's intense... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Wagner Without Fear
Learning to Love--and Even Enjoy--Opera's Most Demanding Genius
Written by William Berger


Format: Trade Paperback, 464 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: September 29, 1998
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-0-375-70054-5 (0-375-70054-4)

William Berger is the most helpful guide one could hope to find for navigating the strange and beautiful world of the most controversial artist who ever lived. He tells you all you need to know—from story lines to historical background;from the Jewish legend that possibly inspired Lohengrin to the tragic death... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz

Written by Hector Berlioz


Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Everyman's Library
On Sale: March 19, 2002
Price: $28.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-41391-9 (0-375-41391-X)

The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz has long been considered to be among the best of musical autobiographies.

Like his massive compositions, Berlioz (1803-69) was colorful, eloquent, larger than life. His book is both an account of his important place in the rise of the Romantic movement and a personal testament. He tells... Read more >

Exam Copy
Whatever You Say I Am
The Life and Times of Eminem
Written by Anthony Bozza


Format: Trade Paperback, 288 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
On Sale: September 28, 2004
Price: $14.99
ISBN: 978-1-4000-5380-3 (1-4000-5380-3)

"...the first bona fide biography of the bad-boy rapper....Bozza links the melding of black and white cultures so evident throughout rock history to the intricate confluence of race in Eminem...." —Library Journal

On assignment for his first cover story for Rolling Stone magazine, the very first national cover story on Eminem, Anthony... Read more >
Also available as an abridged audiobook download and an eBook.

Exam Copy
Queens Reigns Supreme
Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip Hop Hustler
Written by Ethan Brown


Format: Trade Paperback, 288 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: November 22, 2005
Price: $12.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-9523-0 (1-4000-9523-9)

Based on police wiretaps and exclusive interviews with drug kingpins and hip-hop insiders, this is the untold story of how the streets and housing projects of southeast Queens took over the rap industry.

For years, rappers from Nas to Ja Rule have hero-worshipped the legendary drug dealers who dominated Queens in the... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Tearing Down the Wall of Sound
The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector
Written by Mick Brown


Format: Trade Paperback, 512 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: May 13, 2008
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7661-1 (1-4000-7661-7)

He had a number one hit at eighteen. He was a millionaire with his own record label at twenty-two. He was, according to Tom Wolfe, “the first tycoon of teen.” Phil Spector owned pop music. From the Crystals, the Ronettes (whose lead singer, Ronnie, would become his second wife), and the... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Who Shot Rock and Roll
A Photographic History, 1955-Present
Written by Gail Buckland


Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Publisher: Knopf
On Sale: October 20, 2009
Price: $40.00
ISBN: 978-0-307-27016-0 (0-307-27016-5)

More than two hundred spectacular photographs, sensual, luminous, frenzied, true, from 1955 to the present, that catch and define the energy, intoxication, rebellion, and magic of rock and roll; the first book to explore the photographs and the photographers who captured rock’s message of freedom and personal reinvention—and to examine the... Read more >

Exam Copy
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank
Discovering a Forgotten Passion in a Paris Atelier
Written by Thad Carhart


Format: Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
On Sale: March 12, 2002
Price: $15.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-75862-1 (0-375-75862-3)

Walking his two young children to school every morning, Thad Carhart passes an unassuming little storefront in his Paris neighborhood. Intrigued by its simple sign—Desforges Pianos—he enters, only to have his way barred by the shop’s imperious owner. Unable to stifle his curiosity, he finally lands the proper introduction, and a... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing
The Apollo Theater and American Entertainment
Edited by Richard Carlin and Kinshasha Holman Conwill
Foreword by Smokey Robinson


Format: Hardcover, 264 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: April 27, 2010
Price: $35.00
ISBN: 978-1-58834-269-0 (1-58834-269-7)

*An Outstanding Academic Title of 2011 — Choice Magazine

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment celebrates the seventy-five year history of the Apollo Theater, Harlem’s landmark performing arts space and the iconic showplace for the best in jazz, blues, dance, comedy, gospel, R & B... Read more >

Exam Copy
Such Sweet Thunder
A Novel
Written by Vincent O. Carter


Format: Trade Paperback, 440 pages
Publisher: Steerforth
On Sale: June 13, 2006
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-58195-217-9 (1-58195-217-1)

This unique and compelling novel deserves a place of prominence in American literature. Completed in 1963, read and widely admired in manuscript by a network of expatriate American artists strung across Europe, it was never published during Vincent Carter’s lifetime. In 2003, Steerforth Press published the text in its entirety, knowing... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Triksta
Life and Death and New Orleans Rap
Written by Nik Cohn


Format: Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: April 10, 2007
Price: $13.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7706-9 (1-4000-7706-0)

In Triksta, a masterful observer of movements that emerge from dark corners to become worldwide phenomena—early rock ’n’ roll and “Saturday Night Fever,” to name but two—gives us a mesmerizing account of a city, its music, and a way of life that often embraces death.

Nik Cohn’s love of hip-hop goes back... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Queen
The Life and Music of Dinah Washington
Written by Nadine Cohodas


Format: Hardcover, 576 pages
Publisher: Pantheon
On Sale: August 24, 2004
Price: $28.50
ISBN: 978-0-375-42148-8 (0-375-42148-3)

Queen is the landmark biography of the brief, intensely lived life and soulful music of the great Dinah Washington.

A gospel star at fifteen, she was discovered by jazz great Lionel Hampton at eighteen, and for the rest of her life was on the road, playing clubs, or singing in the studio—making... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Check the Technique
Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies
Written by Brian Coleman
Introduction by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson


Format: Trade Paperback, 528 pages
Publisher: Villard
On Sale: June 12, 2007
Price: $22.00
ISBN: 978-0-8129-7775-2 (0-8129-7775-0)

A Tribe Called Quest • Beastie Boys • De La Soul • Eric B. & Rakim • The Fugees • KRS-One • Pete Rock & CL Smooth • Public Enemy • The Roots • Run-DMC • Wu-Tang Clan • and twenty-five more hip-hop immortals

It’s a sad fact: hip-hop album liners have... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Days that I'll Remember
Spending Time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Written by Jonathan Cott


Format: Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: November 5, 2013
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-0-307-95128-1 (0-307-95128-6)

Jonathan Cott met John Lennon in 1968 and was friends with him and Yoko Ono until John's death in 1980. He has kept in touch with Yoko since that time, and is one of the small group of writers who understands her profoundly positive influence on Lennon. This deeply personal book... Read more >

Exam Copy
Always in Pursuit
Fresh American Perspectives
Written by Stanley Crouch


Format: Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: March 16, 1999
Price: $18.95
ISBN: 978-0-375-70168-9 (0-375-70168-0)

Here is a brilliant new collection of essays on the sublime and the ridiculous in contemporary American culture and society, by one of the most important and compelling social commentators at work today.

"Fearless and engaging, a virtuoso at bringing the drive of natural speech into social criticism, Stanley Crouch transcends our... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Don't the Moon Look Lonesome
A Novel in Blues and Swing
Written by Stanley Crouch


Format: Trade Paperback, 576 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: August 10, 2004
Price: $15.95
ISBN: 978-0-375-72447-3 (0-375-72447-8)

Stanley Crouch's gloriously bold first novel provides an intimate and epic portrait of America that breaks all the rules in crossing the boundaries of race, sex, and class.

Blonde Carla from South Dakota is a jazz singer who has been around the block. Almost suddenly, she finds herself fighting to hold... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.
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