McRAE, Carmen - SHAPIRO, Nat, & Nat HENTOFF, eds.

Hear me talkin' to ya.

The Story of Jazz by the Men Who Made It.

New York: Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1955 Stock Code: 142976
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First edition, first printing, presentation copy from jazz singer Carmen McRae, inscribed boldly across the front free endpaper, "To Dan A Wonderful Friend My best wishes to you always. As ever Carmen". It is tempting to speculate that the recipient may be the distinguished jazz writer Dan Morgenstern (b. 1929). McRae's several contributions here include her impressions of Billie Holiday.

Award-winning music writer Will Friedwald places McRae (1920-1994) in the "big six pantheon" of women vocalists (alongside Billie, Ella, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, and Anita O'Day) and describes her with typical acuity as "at once stunningly musical and lyrically emotional, her sound, biting, sharp, and astoundingly clear, full of pure jazz variations and brilliant melodic paraphrases that never undercut her masterly dramatic, interpretive style" (A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers, 2010, p. 319).

Hear me talkin' to ya gathers personal reminiscences of some of the greatest from Armstrong to Gillespie. Shapiro was Mercury's national promotional director (1948-50) and the head of public relations for BMI (1954-55), and as head of Columbia's A&R department from 1956-66, he produced scores of sessions. In all, Shapiro produced around 100 albums for a variety of labels. Nat Hentoff was described in his Guardian obituary as simply "giant of jazz writing".

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Octavo. Original black boards, spine lettered in pink and white. With dust jacket, artwork by Fran Scott.


Price-clipped jacket spine toned and torn with loss at head, rubbed at folds, top edge a little dusty, trivial shelf wear, a good square copy, uncommon in the dust jacket.


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