Batten pays thorough tribute to the prolific and long-reigning king of jazz piano with an account of Peterson’s life that focuses largely on his musicianship and on the family members and professional colleagues who influenced it. Typical of jazz biographies, the narrative is well larded with references to other musicians, most of whom will be unknown to all but real aficionados of the genre—but as a veteran music journalist, the author describes his subject’s career highlights and distinctive techniques both live and on record with particular authority and precision. Despite being illustrated with badly reproduced photographs (including two of the author himself with Peterson), this profile offers serious students of jazz insights aplenty into one of the modern age’s greatest performers. The back matter features a highly selective but annotated discography. Grades 6-9. --John Peters
“If you are looking for a solid biography for middle schoolers of the man who was arguably the top jazz pianist for over twenty years and among the best for the rest of his life, then look no further than this book. Though it is only briefly referenced, the author met Peterson back in 1965, and his clear respect for the man, as well as Peterson’s formidable jazz skills, shows throughout this book…. Still inexorably leading you through Peterson’s life, Batten makes the reader unfamiliar with songs run to the web to listen for the first time….”
– VOYA Magazine
Praise for The War To End All Wars
"...Batten's account is a model of lucidity.... Batten's clean, intelligent prose makes this highly readable and comprehensible...."
—The Toronto Star
"...a fine introduction, especially for a young reader."
Praise for The Man Who Ran Faster Than Everyone: The Story Of Tom Longboat
"vividly readable...brilliantly done!"
—Norma Fleck Jury
"[T]his book is a superb narrative - and a revelatory one - about a largely unknown if not quite unsung Canadian icon."
—The Globe and Mail
"...a wonderful book. Jack Batten has written a riveting sports story...an intriguing slice of social and economic life in the early decades of the 20th century, raising some provocative questions..."
— Books in Canada