Conversations by Steve Reich - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781335425720
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Published: Hanover Square Press - March 8th, 2022

In lieu of a memoir and on the occasion of his 85th birthday, "[the country's] greatest living composer" Steve Reich crafted a collection of conversations inspired by Stravinsky's books of conversations with his amanuensis Robert Craft. During the pandemic Reich spoke with musicians from his ensemble, conductors like Michael Tilson Thomas and Brad Lubman, old friends like Stephen Sondheim and Richard Serra, younger composers (like the Bang on a Can collective--David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon-- Brian Eno, and younger like Nico Muhly), and later generations of performers (like Radiohead's guitarist Jonny Greenwood, David Harrington the first violin in the Kronos Quartet, and others) about his career, each conversation loosely centering on a particular work. There is a charming back and forth that always gives a sense of both conversationalists, and it still hits the major beats expected in a memoir of his 50 year career. Recommended for readers who already have an interest in contemporary classical music. ~ Reviewed by Dafydd Wood

Three Pianos: A Memoir by Andrew McMahon - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781648960208
Availability: Special Order
Published: Princeton Architectural Press - October 26th, 2021

Lyrical, dizzying memoir of a gifted musician's many highs and lows. Road trips, family, friends, bandmates, drugs, disease, booze, relationships, tours, and concerts scatter McMahon's attention and complicate his life. Through it all, his sole solace awaits: his piano. ~ Reviewed by Mike Hare

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780063076099
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: Dey Street Books - October 5th, 2021

This book reads like a conversation with a long-lost bandmate, catching up on the intervening years; as though we were young in the same place once, and though our lives may have been very different, we understand each other. All that is to say, I loved it. ~ Reviewed by Arabella Peterson

Not for You: Pearl Jam and the Present Tense by Ronen Givony - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781501360671
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Published: Bloomsbury Academic - October 21st, 2021

A backstage pass to the story of Pearl Jam, written by a fan trying to understand why this band means so much to him and how they came to be one of the most influential bands of a generation. Givony covers their journey from playing small Seattle clubs to selling out massive arenas, all while maintaining the integrity of the influential music they continue to make. There is a lot of emphasis on the live performances which have made Pearl Jam legendary, as well as their willingness to stand up for progressive causes even when doing so hurt their career. Givony doesn't shy away from the contradictions of a band that claims to not want fame while at the same time seeking to become the biggest band in the world; a goal they actually achieved. A must read for any Pearl Jam fan and anyone looking to understand the culture they influenced with their music and their activism. ~ Reviewed by Allen Boulet

Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest (American Music) by Hanif Abdurraqib - Book Review

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Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest (American Music Series) By Hanif Abdurraqib Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477316481
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Published: University of Texas Press - February 1st, 2019

Few music books can overwhelmingly capture my full attention, make me smile, bring me to tears, and simultaneously teach me about myself, the author, and the music, but Go Ahead in the Rain managed to do that and feel like an exceptionally warm embrace from the author to his beloved A Tribe Called Quest, arguably the best rap group of all time. Whether you are familiar or not with A Tribe Called Quest, this book will make you fall in love with them, their movement, and 90s hip hop. As a first time reader of Abdurraqib's work, I definitely know this will not be my last. ~ Reviewed by Laura Knapp

Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967-1975 by Richard Thompson - Book Review

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Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967-1975 By Richard Thompson, Scott Timberg (With) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781616208950
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Algonquin Books - April 6th, 2021

Like his lyrics Thompson weaves magic into simple honest review of his early life, music and the people who helped or inspired him along the way. The man can write a lyric that twists your heart and lingers in your soul. Red Molly and "Beeswing" are more than flights of fancy but spirits that hug your imagination and leaves me wanting more. I read the book in one sitting. ~ Reviewed by Maeve Noonan


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