A four hundred-page Thames & Hudson hardback stuffed with photographs? A coffee table book, you might think. And you would be right, since this is a history of the most famous label in jazz – with no discography. But it is gorgeous, full of great images, the design matches the label’s style, and the book tells Blue Note’s history well for the lay jazz fan. We get anodyne liner notes rather than critical reviews of the featured albums, and Richard Havers’s style is that of an amiable journeyman, writing the required book cheerfully and efficiently. Still, the great quality that journeymen have is briskness and efficiency with facts – a surprisingly rare skill.
Peter Kenneally reviews 'Blue Note' by Richard Havers
Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression - The Finest in Jazz Since 1939
by Richard Havers
Thames & Hudson, $95 hb, 400 pp, 9780500517444
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Peter Kenneally is a freelance editor, writer and reviewer, and poet. In 2005 his suite of poems Memento Mori was selected for the anthology of the Newcastle Poetry Prize, and in 2007 his piece ‘a streetlamp goes out when I walk under it’ was commended in the New Media section of the same prize. He has appeared in The Australian, Southerly, and Island, among other publications.
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