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Rhythm Is Our Business: Jimmie Lunceford and the Harlem Express (Jazz Perspectives) Paperback – December 15, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Jimmie Lunceford has the best of all bands. Duke is great, Basie is remarkable, but Lunceford tops them both." - Glenn Miller "The first detailed study of one of the Swing Era's most important bands and the first biography of its leader, Jimmie Lunceford. This is a most welcome and significant contribution to the literature of jazz, to our understanding of a vital period in jazz history, and to the music of an outstanding and unique ensemble that was emblematic of the Swing Era." - Dan Morgenstern, Director, Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, and author of Living with Jazz" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Eddy Determeyer has been a freelance music journalist for more than three decades. In 1984 Determeyer wrote a seven-part series on Jimmie Lunceford for the Dutch magazine Jazz Nu. Determeyer has written thousands of articles on music for a variety of Dutch publications and is the author of several books. He currently produces the weekly Holiday for Hipsters radio show for Dutch station Concertzender.
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Product Details

  • Series: Jazz Perspectives
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (December 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047203359X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472033591
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,186,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Evelyn I. Sears on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
For more than a decade, from the mid-1930s until the late 1940s, Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra (aka: the Harlem Express) was acknowledged as one of the leading jazz bands of the swing era. The group was famous for its rhythmic precision and "bounce," its rich sonority, its discipline and its impeccable showmanship. Musically, the Harlem Express did it all: toured the USA and Sweden, played radio gigs, clubs and dances, cut dozens of hit records. . . . Socially and politically, the Harlem Express dismantled racial barriers; Lunceford was one of the first black bandleaders to hire white musicians and composers, and his group played for black, white and desegregated audiences without discrimination. Jimmie Lunceford's band was highly regarded by musicians, critics and audiences, all of whom were stunned when Lunceford died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 45. As a tribute to their leader, the band tried to stay together, but the effort was short-lived; the group just wasn't the same without the leader who had molded and guided them for so long. When Lunceford died, the heart and soul of the Harlem Express died with him.

Rhythm is Our Business is Eddy Determeyer's painstakingly researched chronicle of the rise, peak and collapse of Lunceford's orchestra. Determeyer gathered his material from nearly five dozen interviews, and more than four dozen journals, newspapers and books. In addition to the endnotes and bibliography, Determeyer includes an extensive discography of the Harlem Express's recordings.

Determeyer traces Lunceford's early years in Oklahoma City and Denver and his college years at Fisk University.
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Format: Hardcover
Although regarded as one of the greatest swing bands, Lunceford's orch somehow slipped through the cracks between the 40s and today. Lunceford's early death in 1947 age 45 years effectively ended the band - and his music is too often forgotten or relegated to a back seat when the swing era is assesed.

Eddy Determeyer has done a fine job in exploring Lunceford's life and times. He puts the "Harlem Express" into context, offering many insights into the man, music and surrounding circumstances. Drawing upon previously unpublished interviews (many of which were conducted by the author) as well as 'common' sources and his own analysis, Determeyer produced a very readable book that fleshes out this amazing man and his music. Highly recommended.
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By J. Pearl on January 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book relies too much on newspaper clippings that were little more than slightly revamped press releases. The author chose to emphasize the most sensational rumors about Lunceford's death, ones that were not substantiated by either the coroner's autopsy nor the recollections of some of the band's sidemen, including the two who took over the band following their leader's untimely demise. Lunceford's music and legacy are impressive enough without adding extra hyperbole. Lunceford was not the first black bandleader to hire white musicians, for example.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written, great music (really) and from what was said a great entertainer along with his band. sad ending though.
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