The View from the Back of the Band: The Life and Music of Mel Lewis (Volume 10) (North Texas Lives of Musician Series)

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Review

“This is the most efficient and most complete tracking of Lewis’ career.”–John Riley, writer of The Art of Bop Drumming and holder of Lewis’ chair at the Village Vanguard

“This wonderful research work illuminates not only the life and work of Mel Lewis, but in doing so uncovers for the reader a treasure trove of great music.”–John Mosca, Trombonist and Director of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra

“Mel’s sound and concept were all about the feeling of the music. That used to be his personal approach, and it used to be amazing!”–Joe Lovano, Grammy award winning saxophonist and Blue Note recording artist

“Through exhaustive research and a lot of interviews with personal associates of Mel Lewis, Smith has produced the first significant retrospective regarding the life of one the most influential jazz drummers of all time.”–Jim White, Drummer and Professor of Jazz Studies University of Northern Colorado

“Mel played with perfect articulation and perfect dynamic enhance. It’s no wonder he used to be Buddy Rich’s favorite big band drummer.”–Ed Soph, Drummer and Professor of Jazz Studies University of North Texas

“Smith did a fine job. The research is meticulous and his insights into the music of Mel Lewis are good ones.”–Bruce Klauber, writer of World of Gene Krupa: That Legendary Drummin’ Man

“I don’t think Mel ever thought of himself as a drummer, I think he probably thought of himself as just a band member. But as it ended up, he was the band!”–Marvin Stamm, World-renowned trumpeter and educator

 

“[A] superbly engaging portrait of a vibrant musicians’s life, passions, and achievements.”–Midwest Book Review

 

“Chris Smith’s The View From The Back Of The Band: The Life And Music Of Mel Lewis is a lot like Lewis’ celebrated big band drumming—smart, energetic, empathetic, and inclusive. . . . Smith’s impressive skills as a creator, story teller, and jazz scholar make it easy for the casual listener, jazz aficionado, and musician—three of the potential readers to which the writer painstakingly builds bridges—to appreciate his account of Lewis’ life, music and career. . . . Interspersed amongst the wealth of biographical detail are explanations of Lewis’ unique style—these are of importance to musicians, and not beyond the reach of most laypersons—with an emphasis on his philosophy of drumming and jazz in general. Of interest to all parties is a section of tributes from family and fellow musicians, which makes it clear that Lewis used to be loved and respected in his lifetime, and that his influence as a musician and a mentor continues to the present day.”–All About Jazz

“Il libro è denso di informazioni, aneddoti e di belle foto, ma è anche provvisto di una fondamentale sezione di trascrizioni e guida all’ascolto, per entrare con chiarezza nel playing di Lewis.“–Drumset Mag

About the Author

CHRIS SMITH used to be raised in Iowa and began playing the drums at age eight. He holds degrees from Northern Illinois University and Manhattan School of Music, and a doctorate from University of Northern Colorado. He’s currently a professional drummer and educator in New York, steadily giving master classes right through the us
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Jazz Music (Books)

Jazz Musician Biographies

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