Sunday, March 31, 2013

All That Jazz

April is both National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month. Jazz A-B-Z melds both themes in a stunning volume spotlighting an alphabetical list of jazz giants. Each letter combines clever poetry crafted by jazz artist and composer Wynton Marsalis with perfectly stylized pop-art posters by award-winning illustrator Paul Rogers.

Paul Roger's concept for the book began with distraction. Watching the ballet "Swan Lake", his mind wandered to jazz - his favorite music. He challenged himself to proceed through the alphabet, matching each letter to the first, last or nickname for jazz greats ( A for Louis Armstrong to Z for Dizzy Gillespie) and then create a graphic portrait that "give a sense of his or her sound and also reflects a particular period in time".  His collaborator, Wynton Marsalis, using the illustrations for inspiration, composed 26 poems, brilliantly using different poetic forms for each musical entry.  Consider the letter T - a haiku tribute to Theolonious Monk - "Tonight...there's Theolonious ticklin' or the delightfully alliterative sonnet for Sarah Vaughan which begins with "a vital, vast, vivacious vernal voice with violet, velvet virtues sings to me..."

Jazz A-B-Z concludes with concise biographical sketches for each musician and a section explaining the various poetic forms used for each portrait.

Adults  - don't let the designation "Children's" following the call number 781.65092M35j stop you from checking this out. For  readers from 10 to 100 who are mad for music, passionate about poetry or ardent about art - it's a perfect book.


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