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Bobby Hackett


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'[The] the 630-plus pages of this book (in a readable typeface, for which we give thanks) are detailed yet unfussy and thoroughly informative. It contains twenty rare photographs and an equal number of record label scans. The book is divided in three parts: after the acknowledgments, there is a fifty-page section of reminiscences ... as well as on-the-spot pieces about appearances of Hackett and bands from 1943 on. Hackett was an early recording/stereo equipment enthusiast, and Hulme has written an intriguing essay on that facet of his life. From there, a truly informative musical biography, organized chronologically, which offers reviews of performances, details of sessions, gigs, and recordings. I find such assemblages of detail fascinating (especially because Hulme and Whyatt offer reasoned research rather than conjecture or repetitions of debatable facts). The remainder of the book - some four hundred pages - is a beautifully clear, well-organized discography, ending with pages of "discographical mysteries," a bibliography, and two detailed indices. It is a worthy tribute to a musician whose work never disappoints... [and], because it's paperbound, is surprisingly affordable. I recommend it with the greatest enthusiasm.' Michael Steinman, jazzlives, March 2016; 'This book is an excellent reference work on a jazzman, whose name is familiar enough, but whose biographical details in other reference books are often sparse or restricted to a list of gigs and selected recordings. It's divided into two main parts: his life and his recordings. The first part is further sub-divided into sections on his instrument, his style, appreciations from those who knew and worked with him, and six decades of biographical material, all of which are usefully number-coded for easy cross referencing. The second part is an exhaustive discography, which details every recording session, commercial and private, that the authors have been able to trace, as well as the many broadcasts, ... legally or illegally recorded. One of the most interesting parts of the book is a short section devoted to other musicians' thoughts about Bobby Hackett. Alec Wilder describes him as "poet and essayist...tender and witty"; Dick Cary: "the most exciting fact...was that his solos were actually compositions..."; Lache Shaw describes his tone "as if a series of glorious church bells were being struck by a sensitive mallet." Hackett himself said of music in general: "Real greatness is in simplicity". That's as good an epitaph as any jazzman might expect.' From a Review by Max Easterman, VJM, 2015; 'Bobby Hackett's is a name that brings a smile to the face of almost everyone who loves mainstream jazz. ... He has a large number of devoted fans who still, almost forty years after he left the scene, listen often and raptly to his recordings. ... This volume was obviously a labor of love for the two authors. Their dedication to Hackett's legacy is impressive and appealing. It is a highly readable book, and will serve as an indispensable resource for those who are interested in exploring the music of Bobby Hackett. It is also likely to send you scurrying around looking for some gems that have escaped your attention.' Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz.

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