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Pops Foster: The Autobiography of a New Orleans Jazzman Paperback – July 24, 1973
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Physical description; xxii, 208 p.,  p. of plates : facsim., ports. ; 23 cm. Notes; Originally published: 1971. Bibl.: p. 199. - List of records: p.180-197. - Index. Subjects; Foster, Pops - Biography. Jazz musicians - Correspondence, reminiscences, etc. Double-bass music (Jazz). Jazz musicians - Biography. Jazz musicians - Correspondence. jazz - performance - double bass playing - foster, pops - autobiographies. Genres; Autobiography. Illustrated.
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Top customer reviews
What's so refreshing is how Foster pulls no punches—he was "there" in an amazing period of American music but doesn't buy into any mythologies. He depicts legendary musicians as real people who were not without flaws. Pops remembers when they were still developing, as well as the often-overlooked contemporaries who nurtured them. By no means does he do a hatchet job on anyone—he just remembers things in a solid, straight-ahead manner. That's how he lived and played bass. and that's why this is such an excellent read for anyone interested in jazz history.
For me, this book made some history "come alive" much more than other, more serious histories. Pops is a good story-teller and was around for a period that was pivotal in the development of American music. The book also has a great collection of photographs.
One other note: I had the pleasure of seeing Pops Foster and Zutty Singleton play together at the University of California Jazz Festival in '69 or perhaps '70. (This festival no longer exists, BTW.) They were accompanied by, I seem to recall, Joe Zawinul. They did a 12-bar blues progression. Zawinul started in too fast, clearly thinking "dixieland", but Pops and Zutty wouldn't budge from their nice mid-tempo swing, and Zawinul settled down nicely.
Anyway, 5 stars because this book is so memorable, years after I first read it.
Most of all, this autobiography is both insightful for those interested in history and entertaining. Pops was indeed a clever man when it came to the pranks as well as the music, and he doesn't fail to tell about both adequately. This makes the narrative light, as in the case of fellow New Orleans musicians Barney Bigard's and Louis Armstrong's (multiple) texts, which separates these from the somber and literary Sidney Bechet.
The book is shorter than most, but filled with an astonishing amount of details and laugh-out-loud experiences that are well worth reading, no matter what your interest or knowledge of Pops Foster is.