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Carmen McRae: Miss Jazz Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Billboard Books (April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082307904X
  • ASIN: B000C4SRZY
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,757,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I've always loved Carmen's music and have felt she was one of the most influential singers on the jazz scene. This book is ok if you want a somewhat boring chronological history of her recording sessions with some newspaper reviews thrown in. But I was extremely dissapointed in not getting a real insight as to who Carmen was as a person and what made her tick. I also felt that some of the statements made by her associates seemed to be presented in a jaded fashion. I also believe the author made more of the singer's marijuana use and sexual orientation than was warranted. It wasn't easy then and it isn't easy now being a woman in the music business. Book = Big disapointment.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Gourse's biography does not, in my opinion, do justice to this legandary jazz artist. I was hoping for some improvement over her biography on Sarah Vaughan, however, my opinion is that Ms. Gourse's Carmen McRae bio takes her down a few more notches as a biographer/writer. I almost got the feeling that it was slapped together quickly due to publishing deadlines or a general lack of interest in the subject.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jessica on July 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Despite the fact that I have consistently disliked Leslie Gourse's writing in her books, magazine articles, and liner notes, I looked forward to reading this book. I thought I could wade through the the junior high level prose and perhaps glean some information about my favorite jazz singer. Alas, I was wrong.
There are many obvious inaccuracies in the short text. Names and places are misspelled, dates are wrong, and stories contradict each other. The discography that rounds out the slim book is woefully incomplete and poorly researched (Ms Gourse refers to Carmen recording for the Official label in 1959. In fact, Official is a reissue label that packaged Carmen's Decca, Kapp and Mercury singles on CD in the early 90s).
What really bothers me is that Leslie Gourse does not appear to have taken the time to figure out what made Carmen McRae a great artist. If she had actually found and listened to Carmen's records, she would know the difference between "The Great American Songbook" and "Live At The Great American Music Hall" (album titles that she seems to use interchangeably). Instead what we get are story after poorly-written story about what a difficult person Carmen was, and conjectures about her sexual preferences.
If you're looking for a good book about a great singer, try Stuart Nicholson's Ella Fitzgerald bio. "Miss Jazz" isn't worth your time. I just hope someone else is incensed enough by Leslie Gourse's handling of this subject to write another, better book about Carmen McRae. She's an amazing singer with an interesting story. Too bad you won't find it here.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mone Peterson on July 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Poorly researched, poorly written, with no real insight into the life of Ms. McRae. Avoid.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carol Ann Avorgbedor on April 22, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The author L. Gourse was shameful, utterly careless in her dealing and research of the gem that is Carmen!
What demons dwelled in residence within this author that she should have chosen so wretched a photograph to depict the jewel that was Carmen? Her depiction of the "Gem" Carmen was ghastly, not to mention downright hasty, shameful.
I hope she will know that when her turn comes, the same carelessness will accompany any rememberances of her as a 'so-called' biographer. Startling details and conclusions were boldly brought forth, but sadly, it fizzes away with lack of evidence or any weighty proofs. Shameful is all I say and careless trivialities concerning her subject, for "subject" is all that our jewel Carmen was to this author, not merely a human being. Carmen deserves better!
Carol "chickadee coralreef amaryillis" Ann
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