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The Boston Jazz Chronicles Paperback – April 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Troy Street Publishing, LLC (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983991006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983991007
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
If you are a jazz fan, love Boston and it's history this is for you.
VEZGrandma
I am thrilled by the depth of research and thread of musical history with which Richard Vacca has imbued this very excellent book.
John F. Cahill
While reading the book I even learned a few new things about some of the people I'd known during that time.
Robert M. Freedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Freedman on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. Richard Vacca's writing style makes it a truly enjoyable read while the abundant factual/historical information it contains qualify it as an outstanding reference source. The photographs, original maps, extensive index and bibliography all contribute to putting this work in a class by itself.

I was in the greater Boston area during the last nineteen years covered by these Chronicles and I am truly impressed by the depth and accuracy of the author's knowledge. While reading the book I even learned a few new things about some of the people I'd known during that time.

Vacca is not a jazz musician but his understanding of the music and the language he uses to convey it would seem to contradict that fact. The Boston Jazz Chronicles provides a great reading experience which I highly recommend.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack Vaughan on November 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Jazz is New Orleans, Jazz is New York - beyond that it gets a little dicey. Is jazz Chicago? Montreux? LA? Paris? Philadelphia? Altoona? Fact is there are a number of places off the beaten track worth consideration, having raised individuals and aggregations that influenced the major American art form. My adopted home town of Boston is one of them.

Storyville, Lenny's on the Turnpike, the Hi-Hat, Wally's Paradise (still active) .. these were Boston jazz night clubs - stops along the way for musicians, jazz fans, party people and kitchen help. From the late 30s to the early 60s, all combined to make a moment. This moment in time is worth archiving.

I would like to give compliments to Richard Vacca writing The Boston Jazz Chronicles - Faces, Places, and Nightlife 1937-1962. He has rigorously sought out the facts, found the witnesses, and conveyed the feel of a night club jazz era that took place in Boston. [Full disclosure: Way back I set out to write a similar book, or more likely magazine article. Talked with Jaki Bayard and Tony Cinomo. Didnt get too far past that. So was really glad to get and dig into this book by Richard Vacca.]

Got a chance to attend a lecture by Vacca at Wally's. Engaging, dedicated to understatement, his portrayal of the pivotal Boston scene of jazz painted a prescient picture. You know, "Wally" was a friend of "Red" (Malcom X) when he lived in town in the 40s - role played by Spike Lee in the Spike Lee movie - showing the link between music, history, and Saturday night.

Was there a Boston sound? Not exactly. It could be said that it was halfway between the hard bop sound and the cool school of the West Coast. It had a bit of the conservatory, and bit of the vaudeville circuit spin. It was well-written, and well-arranged.
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Richard Vacca has given us beautifully written, exhaustively researched, lovingly presented account of a critically important era in American culture. Fans of music (regardless of genre), musicologists (ditto), professional performers (ditto), cultural historians and consumers of culture (worldwide) should be aware of the significance of the time and place about which Mr. Vacca writes.
And he writes about it with care, accuracy, humor, and mindfulness. I've had the good fortune of having lived in the area since birth in the late 1940s; I've had the pleasure crossing paths with Rivers, Byard, Viola, McGhee, Vega, Gil, Konitz,, et. al,; I've ridden the bus down Mass Ave (past The Wigwam, Wally's, etc.) since the '50s; I shopped at Raymond's in the early '60s, and I was been raised by parents who recalled having danced to Duke's band (and others) on the Ritz roof, at the Totem Pole, at Revere Beach, and a dozen other locales. I can, therefore, attest that The Boston Jazz Chronicles is essential reading those who would have a background in Boston cultural life.
Caveat: the fact that a few of the dates of photos (judging from auto tail-lights) might be off by a couple of years doesn't, in any way, affect the value and accuracy of this treasure.
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This book is one of the best books on the Jazz music and musicians life in the Boston area. I remember the 1950's and most of the clubs and dance halls of Boston, this just made them more alive to me. The maps and information on the club's & dance hall owners gave insight into the workings of the business from their point as well as the details of the book is a credit to Mr. Vacca. I enjoied it so much that I purchased 2 additional copies for my friends who were a part of it all, one as a Boston Radio Disk Jockey during that time and the other who was known by most of the musicians in the area of Tremont Street and the High Hat Club. I would put this book at the top of anyone's reading list who is a Jazz lover of the 40's, 50's and 60's in my opion the best generation for Jazz music.
Thank you Mr. Vacca for a wonderful book.
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This is a very interesting book about Jazz and how the culture of Jazz fit in with Boston culture. Although jazz was bigger and grander in New York and Chicago, this is quite a tale of a lesser known tale. I enjoyed the name dropping aspect of the jazz greats floating in an out of the town. I also enjoyed reading about how race affected the scene. I would like to have seen more description of what the jazz clubs looked like. What kind of tables they had, what the patrons ordered to eat, and so on. I also wish there had been more pictures. Of course, I realize that perhaps pictures were not available from this time period. I am happy with my purchase.
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