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Outcats: Jazz Composers, Instrumentalists, and Singers Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (May 24, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019505587X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195055870
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,027,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Composers Duke Ellington, Gil Evans and Cecil Taylor, instrumentalists Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and Lester Young, singers Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, political satirist Mort Sahl are among the stars discussed here, along with hotter new figures. Although he regards all jazz performers--and listeners--as outcats (outcasts/far-out cats) and focuses on their cultural exile, Davis ( In the Moment ) deals with them on a case-by-case basis in these 37 profiles, critical essays and mixed-mode pieces on individuals, combos, movements, issues and events from 1986-1989. With originality, a perceptive commentator freshly analyzes both new and forgotten aspects of jazz performance.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this collection of 37 essays, Philadelphia Inquirer critic Davis heralds emerging jazz instrumentalists and composers such as Edward Wilkerson and Butch Morris and profiles legendary artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Bobby Short. The alienation of jazz musicians ("outcats") from mainstream society forms Davis's major theme. Although each essay is an appreciation, Davis takes exception to musical trends he finds undesirable. This is a good introduction to modern jazz and a fine example of responsible criticism. It follows Davis's well-received title, In the Moment (Oxford Univ. Pr., 1986).
- Paul Baker, CUNA Inc., Madison, Wis.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Bromberg on June 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Regardless of your familiarity with jazz history, its people or its forms, this collection of essays is great for the fan or the first time listener interested in learning more. Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Gil Evans, and Lester Young get scholarly appreciations, but so do Sun Ra, Henry Threadgill, Steve Lacy, and -- really showing the author's capacity for inclusiveness -- Bobby Darin, which isn't as farfetched as it seems. Essays are grouped into composers, instrumentalists, and vocalists, with a fourth section devoted to historical essays, encouraging the interested reader to explore more of a particular style. Davis assumes the reader will know a little about jazz, but his enthusiasm for his subject matter makes this book lively reading about America's most original musical form.
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By Chad Hammack on April 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This pungent little collection has more insights per page than most volumes four times its size. Francis Davis doesn't waste time trying to prove how hip he is, and although very well informed he doesn't come across as a jazz clinician or bellicose educator. He is always the keen observer, the nuanced listener, and at times is able to express his sheer enjoyment of the art form with the kind of warmth and immediacy that Ralph J. Gleason used to muster.
If he reminds me of anyone it is James Agee; he possesses that writer's concision, dry humor, and profound belief in his subject as an art form. His prose doesn't draw attention to itself but it curls up in the ear. Words choices are deft and his thought takes interesting turns. His piece on Sheila Jordan is worth the price of admission and underscores the humanity that inhabits this collection.
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