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Open the Door: The Life and Music of Betty Carter (Jazz Perspectives) Paperback – March 7, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Jazz Perspectives
  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press/Regional (March 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472067915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472067916
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,995,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Born Lillie Mae Jones in Detroit, Betty Carter (1929-1998) enjoyed early success performing with major stars like Lionel Hampton, Miles Davis and Ray Charles. During the British rock invasion of the 1960s, her career ground almost to a halt, and she made a comeback only in the late '70s. Carter's career was also influenced by her fierce and uncompromising perfectionism: she frequently fired band members and fought a continuing struggle to maintain control over her recordings. In this first full-length biography of the singer, Bauer, an assistant professor at Rutgers University, details the changes in jazz styles, performance venues and recording market throughout Carter's 50-year career. While Bauer skillfully interweaves his discussion of Carter's compositions and performances with her life story, readers interested in Carter's life will have to skim through the detailed musical analyses. It is doubtful that even many musicians will get much from Bauer's rather academic technical discussions, although the 15 transcriptions of Carter performances may pique the interest of aspiring singers. 16 photos, 20 illus.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Like James L. Dickerson's recent biography of Lil Hardin Armstrong, Just for a Thrill, this labor of love says a lot about the inner workings of the music business and features a strong, intelligent African American woman who educated herself to be her own manager. Bauer (music, Rutgers Univ., Newark) draws on his own and other people's interviews with Carter (1930-98), whose star rose relatively late. In 1948, she was still Lillie Mae Jones, and when Lionel Hampton brought his big band to Detroit, she caught his ear with her off-stage scatting. Thus began the professional career of the only postbop singer whose name can be mentioned in the same breath as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan. Bauer assuredly examines those singers' influence on Carter with musical examples and documents her unflinching artistic integrity. Rather than hire top players for her backing trio, she always hired promising kids, which may have limited her commercial appeal. Regardless, her following continues to grow through the ongoing success of the Jazz Ahead program that she established to nurture and showcase the talents of the next generation of jazz musicians. This is the only available book-length biography of Carter. Highly recommended for all jazz collections. Harold V. Cordry, Baldwin, KS
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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This book is extremely well-written, comprehensive, and fun to read! I LOVE the transcriptions in back. They--along with the author's prose--bring the biographical information to life. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in deepening their understanding of Betty Carter's little-known but indispensable contribution to music.
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