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The Boston Jazz Chronicles Paperback – April 1, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Troy Street Publishing, LLC (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983991006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983991007
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert M. Freedman on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. Richard Vacca's writing style makes it a truly enjoyable read while the abundant factual/historical information it contains qualify it as an outstanding reference source. The photographs, original maps, extensive index and bibliography all contribute to putting this work in a class by itself.

I was in the greater Boston area during the last nineteen years covered by these Chronicles and I am truly impressed by the depth and accuracy of the author's knowledge. While reading the book I even learned a few new things about some of the people I'd known during that time.

Vacca is not a jazz musician but his understanding of the music and the language he uses to convey it would seem to contradict that fact. The Boston Jazz Chronicles provides a great reading experience which I highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Richard Vacca has given us beautifully written, exhaustively researched, lovingly presented account of a critically important era in American culture. Fans of music (regardless of genre), musicologists (ditto), professional performers (ditto), cultural historians and consumers of culture (worldwide) should be aware of the significance of the time and place about which Mr. Vacca writes.
And he writes about it with care, accuracy, humor, and mindfulness. I've had the good fortune of having lived in the area since birth in the late 1940s; I've had the pleasure crossing paths with Rivers, Byard, Viola, McGhee, Vega, Gil, Konitz,, et. al,; I've ridden the bus down Mass Ave (past The Wigwam, Wally's, etc.) since the '50s; I shopped at Raymond's in the early '60s, and I was been raised by parents who recalled having danced to Duke's band (and others) on the Ritz roof, at the Totem Pole, at Revere Beach, and a dozen other locales. I can, therefore, attest that The Boston Jazz Chronicles is essential reading those who would have a background in Boston cultural life.
Caveat: the fact that a few of the dates of photos (judging from auto tail-lights) might be off by a couple of years doesn't, in any way, affect the value and accuracy of this treasure.
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Format: Paperback
Jazz is New Orleans, Jazz is New York - beyond that it gets a little dicey. Is jazz Chicago? Montreux? LA? Paris? Philadelphia? Altoona? Fact is there are a number of places off the beaten track worth consideration, having raised individuals and aggregations that influenced the major American art form. My adopted home town of Boston is one of them.

Storyville, Lenny's on the Turnpike, the Hi-Hat, Wally's Paradise (still active) .. these were Boston jazz night clubs - stops along the way for musicians, jazz fans, party people and kitchen help. From the late 30s to the early 60s, all combined to make a moment. This moment in time is worth archiving.

I would like to give compliments to Richard Vacca writing The Boston Jazz Chronicles - Faces, Places, and Nightlife 1937-1962. He has rigorously sought out the facts, found the witnesses, and conveyed the feel of a night club jazz era that took place in Boston. [Full disclosure: Way back I set out to write a similar book, or more likely magazine article. Talked with Jaki Bayard and Tony Cinomo. Didnt get too far past that. So was really glad to get and dig into this book by Richard Vacca.]

Got a chance to attend a lecture by Vacca at Wally's. Engaging, dedicated to understatement, his portrayal of the pivotal Boston scene of jazz painted a prescient picture. You know, "Wally" was a friend of "Red" (Malcom X) when he lived in town in the 40s - role played by Spike Lee in the Spike Lee movie - showing the link between music, history, and Saturday night.

Was there a Boston sound? Not exactly. It could be said that it was halfway between the hard bop sound and the cool school of the West Coast. It had a bit of the conservatory, and bit of the vaudeville circuit spin. It was well-written, and well-arranged.
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This is a very interesting book about Jazz and how the culture of Jazz fit in with Boston culture. Although jazz was bigger and grander in New York and Chicago, this is quite a tale of a lesser known tale. I enjoyed the name dropping aspect of the jazz greats floating in an out of the town. I also enjoyed reading about how race affected the scene. I would like to have seen more description of what the jazz clubs looked like. What kind of tables they had, what the patrons ordered to eat, and so on. I also wish there had been more pictures. Of course, I realize that perhaps pictures were not available from this time period. I am happy with my purchase.
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In the mid Sixties I remember riding by the remnants of Boston's Jazz scene on Mass Ave. I worked for someone who was a big jazz fan and he recommended albums for me to listen to. (My scene was the Tea Party and WBCN.) Talking to my then boss I got a sense of what I had missed--Thank you Rick for the whole story.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this book and have passed it on. If you are a jazz fan, love Boston and it's history this is for you. Not only did it bring back memories for me of 60's and early 70's music scene in Boston but I learned a lot. It is a very easy, interesting read conducive to a chapter at a time or big chunks all at once. Would be a good holiday gift for the Bostonian jazz lover on your list.
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