“Gerber’s deft, energetic examination of Gershwin’s music . . . illuminates the enormous Jewish contribution to the great American musical export, jazz.” — (BookLife) Publishers Weekly
“[H]istoric facts and figures about jazz with a fairly complete survey of its origins in slave songs, spirituals, minstrel shows, and Storyville flesh dens, as well as a chronicle of the rise of New Orleans trumpeter Louis Armstrong.” —(BookLife) Publishers Weekly
“Gerber . . . links the raw power of jazz and the blues to the country’s past of prejudice and racism.” — (BookLife) Publishers Weekly
[Gerber] scores points with his bold commentary about the complicated political and cultural relationships between Jewish and black communities with regard to jazz.” — (BookLife) Publishers Weekly
“Gerber does well with the life of musical genius George Gershwin, a Brooklyn son of Russian Jews who rose from Tin Pan Alley to produce such startling masterpieces as ‘Porgy and Bess’ and ‘Rhapsody in Blue.’” — (BookLife) Publishers Weekly
Let ’Em Eat Cake (1933)
“What is the voice of the American soul? It is jazz . . .”
George—close your eyes and make a wish! Now BLOW!—Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, dear George. Happy Birthday to you.
“[Gerber] unearths some interesting facts, such as shared cultural experiences of African-Americans and Jews: he notes that African-American singers such as Billie Holliday and Alberta Hunter recorded Jewish songs, and that Louis Armstrong so admired Jewish people that he wore a Star of David around his neck.” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)
“Using a variety of bibliographical sources, Gerber paints a vivid picture of jazz’s roots in slaves’ spirituals and minstrel shows; the music’s popularity in the Storyville section of New Orleans; and the emergence of Louis Armstrong.” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)
“[Gerber] makes a strong, enthusiastic case for Gershwin’s contributions to jazz, something that many jazz historians, according to the author, don’t often acknowledge (“As far as George Gershwin goes—jazz can’t live with him and jazz can’t live without him!”).” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)
“It’s interesting to learn that Gershwin’s folk opera, Porgy and Bess, was initially a financial failure, and Gerber also delves into other aspects of Gershwin’s life, including his dietary habits, his relationships with women, and his love for fine art” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)
“Rather than taking a dry, academic approach to the subject, Gerber, a musician and natural foods entrepreneur, writes in a conversational, lively, and witty style . . . ” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)
” . . . Covarrubias’ vibrant illustrations really enhance the text.” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)
“A lively . . . overview of jazz’s origins.” —Kirkus Reviews (recommended review)
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