Sunday, February 5, 2017

Forthcoming Books on Detroit Music

Soon after my entry was posted last Sunday, I got a reply from Thomas Glusac. HIs father, Rodney Glusac, had been interviewed by Mark Slobin for a book Slobin was writing about the music culture of Detroit. Slobin, a retired professor at Wesleyan University, is an acclaimed ethnomusicologist who grew up in Detroit, attended Cass, and was educated at the University of Michigan. Glusac included in his reply this link, totally new to me: It's a lecture Slobin gave in 2016 at the Library of Congress. Entitled "Improvising a Musical Metropolis: Detroit, 1940s-1960s," it gives a sense of his interests and the nature of his research. 

As Slobin points out in his lecture, "There is no book that is the life of any American city's music in any period of time." What intrigues me especially, of course, is Slobin's timeframe. Adams returned to Detroit in 1947 and left in early 1956. Slobin's work corresponds to Pepper's experience in his hometown.

Intrigued, I emailed Slobin after watching his lecture, wanting to know more about his research and when the book might be published. Fortunately, it's finished and has been submitted for publication. I suspect we'll see it sometime in 2017. 

Mark told me that he's giving a talk in Ann Arbor for the University on March 15: "They asked me to come up with something on Detroit in 1943, which happens to be my birth year, and the talk is on my birthday." If you're in the area, stop in to hear his talk on the Detroit Riot of 1943 and its many implications. Wish him a happy birthday for me, while you're at it.

                                       (Mark Slobin)

A second important book about Detroit's musical culture that we can expect in 2017 is Made in Detroit: Jazz from the Motor City. It's a collection of jazz profiles by Mark Stryker, former Detroit Free Press Arts Reporter and Critic. Stryker took a buy-out from the newspaper in December, 2016 after twenty-one years on the job. Stryker had been making progress on his book but the day job (as I well know) got in the way. Now, Stryker can finish it up. (He's currently at work on the Milt Jackson chapter.) Judging from his superb piece on Thad Jones, the book should be an excellent contribution to jazz history:

                                                          (Thad Jones)

Stryker's book, as I understand it, will be comprised of pieces about a handful of important Detroit jazz musicians. Some (a la Gary Giddins, Whitney Balliett and others) will be reworked pieces that he wrote earlier. That's a good thing because few of us have had the good fortune to read them. Will he be writing about Pepper Adams? No, he told me. That's my gig. Gee, isn't there anyone else out there who wants to write about Pepper?

                                          (Mark Stryker)

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