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It is a must read for every jazz fan, and social scientists alike. -- Michael G. Nastos, WEMU-FM All Music Guide Cadence Magazine
From the Author
As I look back over this story I find that I'm not at all sure whether this is an autobiography of a musician whose life's experience led him to the recognition of his spiritual reality - through the discovery of the Bah'' Faith - or of a spiritual person who has found how he might express himself creatively through the medium of music. Who knows? Not moi!
I began writing this book with the intention of writing about my discovery of the reality of the music we call jazz. As I became more involved with that community of musicians, I found that jazz was actually the indigenous classical music of America, representing the image of American people to the rest of the world. Because of my discovery, I felt that perhaps my greatest contribution would be to use my life as an example of what so many of us musicians have gone through to get a clear idea of who and what we are. The experiences I relate are not unique to me, although we all have different responses to those experiences and, of course, the names and associations are different. But such experiences, in the final analysis, help form our understanding of the reality both of the music and of the social circumstances of our lives.
This is an interesting book at a number of levels. The autobiography of a successful American jazz player, its primary readership will probably be those who enjoy that branch of music. Certainly there is enough in it for them. But it is also a human story. Holladay doesn't just give an account of his career. He tells what it was like for a white man to become a jazz musician at a time when it was seen as largely a black preserve (at least as far as performing professionally went) and the prejudice he experienced from both sides. He tells of his time as a college music professor and why he returned to performing (an interesting sidelight on academia). And he tells of his spiritual quest and religious beliefs, his faith as a Baha'i (a religion he shares with the late, great Dizzy Gillespie) and how his convictions affect his work and life.
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