In a swinging improvisation with poster artist Paul Rogers, Wynton Marsalis celebrates the spirit of twenty-six stellar jazz performers, from Armstrong to Dizzy — and showcases the same number of poetic forms.
A is for “almighty” Louis Armstrong, whose amazing artistry unfolds in an accumulative poem shaped like the letter he stands for. As for sax master Sonny Rollins, whose “robust style radiates roundness,” could there be a better tribute than a poetic rondeau? In an extraordinary feat, Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz composer Wynton Marsalis harmonizes his love and knowledge of jazz’s most celebrated artists with an astounding diversity of poetic forms — from simple blues (Count Basie) to a complex pantoum (Charlie Parker), from a tender sonnet (Sarah Vaughan) to a performance poem snapping the rhythms of Art Blakey to life.
Matching Wynton Marsalis’s musical cadences note for note is the bold, poster-style art of Paul Rogers, highlighted in two phenomenal foldout spreads. The art’s vibrant nostalgic feel is echoed in an exquisite design, with its size simulating an old 78 LP and its endpapers die-cut to mimic a vintage record sleeve. Complete with a discography and brief biographies of the featured musicians as well as notes on the various poetic forms, this is truly an incomparable gift book — for older children learning about jazz, longtime jazz aficionados, lovers of poetry, and readers of all ages who appreciate the finest in book design. Back matter includes biographical sketches, notes on the poetic forms, and information about the author and the illustrator.
Electric. . . . This is a must for anyone who has ever been drawn to a scat by Ella or a riff from Miles or who has whirled around the dance floor courtesy of Count Basie. The passion for jazz shared by this book’s creators emanates from every page – and it’s contagious. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Fans of poetry, jazz, and modern art will love this book. . . . Every page is a delight to behold. —School Library Journal (starred review)
At last: a jazz book that thrillingly, exhilaratingly, palpitatingly GETS it. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This striking book combines beautiful design, gorgeous illustrations, and remarkably clever text. —Booklist (starred review)
Kirkus Reviews Editor Choice AwardSELECTION
NCTE Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Language ArtsSELECTION