An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

An Unsung Cat Audio, Cassette – May 23, 2001


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Audio, Cassette
"Please retry"
$40.85

Popular New Biographies & Memoirs
Browse a selection of popular new biographies and memoirs.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Jazz (Book 37)
  • Audio Cassette: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press; Har/Com edition (May 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810840405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810840409
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,990,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Unsung Cat is not only a many-faceted, novelistic biography by a noted jazz journalist and one of Marsh's former sax students, but a heartbreaking mystery that tortures readers with questions as deeply as it satisfies with narrative richness. Who was this jazz cipher, and how did so many of us miss his musical genius?...The publisher has put together a companion CD released by Storyville Records and a book and Cd set for $68.50. That should serve as a good introduction to Marsh's work. (Jazzsteps)

..highly-detailed biography...an interesting story... (Rapport)

...painstakingly researched and gracefully written...A fine volume... (Choice)

...with Chamberlain's discerning comments on the music, the interested reader will easily be able to follow Marsh's musical development...the discography is invaluable for a player like Marsh... (Iajrc Journal)

...remarkable job of cutting through the myth of Warne Marsh and taking a serious, analytical look at his life and his music...Chamberlain's book is one of the finest examples of jazz biography, and worthy of Marsh's legacy in every way. (Allmusic.Com)

Safford Chamberlain...has just given a big boost to Marsh's stock. An Unsung Cat: The Life and Music of Warne Marsh ... is a thorough and objective study of a man Chamberlain calls 'a flawed genius.' Chamberlain's book is important in many respects. Aside from its value as a biography, he provides an informative discography of Marsh's recorded work. An accompanying section of transcribed Marsh solos will prove invaluable to musicians. In addition, Chamberlain has compiled a companion CD of important Marsh recordings. (Pasadena Weekly)

Warne Marsh left a legacy of fine recordings which are thoroughly analyzed by Chamberlain in his compelling and insightful journey into one jazz musician's existence. Safford Chamberlain has compiled a brilliant biography of a very complicated man...This is savvy writing from a man who is in tune with jazz by virtue of being a musician, scholar and a relentless searcher for truth and accuracy. This is the best and most legitimate bio that I have read in years.... (Jazzreview.Com)

Chamberlain studies jazz saxophone for awhile with Marsh (1927-87), but eventually gave it up in favor of his day job teaching literature and writing about jazz. Still the experience inspired him to produce a biography of his teacher. Aside from some exuberant fans, he says, Marsh was considered a very good second-level tenor saxophonist during his career, but attributes his lack of recognition primarily to an outsider temperament that led him to mismanage his own affairs and contribute to his own obscurity. (Reference & Research Book News)

...a detailed picture of this fascinating musician. (European Free Improvisation Bibliography)

About the Author

Safford Chamberlain is a former community college English teacher who studied jazz saxophone with Warne Marsh, among others. He has written on jazz for Downbeat, L.A. Jazz Scene, Los Angeles Free Press, Los Angeles Reader, and The Realist.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
5
4 star
0
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 6 customer reviews
If you can find the recordings, it's really great to watch his solos unfold.
Jürgen Güd
This one, however, treats the subject matter with the seriousness and attention to detail this wonderful music we call "jazz" deserves.
John Burton
Mr. Chamberlain has done a great service for jazz musicians and fans with the creation of this book.
John Ritchie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Burton on January 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Safford Chamberlin's love for his subject matter, the jazz solos of the late tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, comes out on every page of this unusually well researched and well written biography.
Marsh was a child prodigy who fell under the spell of the eccentric jazz recluse Lennie Tristano, the founder and guru of a school of highly disciplined post-bebop jazz in New York City during the late 1940's. Marsh ping-ponged between Tristano and the West Coast, mostly in relative obscurity, until he died on stage at Donte's in North Hollywood in December 1987.
Chamberlin skillfully weaves the facts of Marsh's life with details about his milieu and descriptions of his recordings. The chapters describing Marsh's early recordings with fellow Tristanoite Lee Konitz are particularly interesting. Chamberlin delicately deals with the difficult subjects of drugs, commercialism and racism in jazz music.
I have read many jazz biographies, some lurid, some sloppy and inaccurate. This one, however, treats the subject matter with the seriousness and attention to detail this wonderful music we call "jazz" deserves.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By eddie richey on September 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My biggest complaint about Ken Burns' "Jazz" was how many great musicians were ignored. People like Herbie Nichols, Serge Chaloff, Jimmy Raney, the list is almost endless. Safford Chamberlain's book about one of the most sorely underappreciated improvisers ever is superb. It puts in human terms the struggles that almost all jazz musicians faced from the late 1940's on in trying to document a music that was falling further and further from the public view. Lee Konitz has stated "I don't know of any other musician that realy surprised me as much as Warne did with his inventiveness." Mr. Chamberlain is an excellent writer, and I hope this book helps to turn more jazz fans onto to Warne.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Ritchie on July 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Chamberlain has done a great service for jazz musicians and fans with the creation of this book. One of the most refreshing points of the book (which actually sets it apart from most other jazz biographies) is that Safford is not scared to be critical of Warne and his associates, especially Lennie Tristano. The book only paints a vague picture of Warne as a person, but I interpret that as a way of showing how hard it was to really get to know the man. This is definitely a book that should be picked up to help spread the word about one of jazz' most important and creative improvisers.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?