North Texas Lives of Musicians Series

Vol. 14: Beneath Missouri Skies: Pat Metheny in Kansas City 1964-1972

Published: May, 2021  Pages: 288  Features: 30 b&w illus. Notes. Bib. Index.

The New Yorker recently referred to Pat Metheny as “possibly the most influential jazz guitarist of the past five decades.” A native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, just southeast of Kansas City, Metheny started playing in pizza parlors at age fourteen. By the time he graduated from high school he was the first-call guitarist for Kansas City jazz clubs, private clubs, and jazz festivals. Now 66, he attributes his early success to the local musical environment he was brought up in and the players and teachers who nurtured his talent and welcomed him into the jazz community. more... about Beneath Missouri Skies: Pat Metheny in Kansas City 1964-1972

Vol. 13: The Other Toscanini: The Life and Works of Héctor Panizza

Published: September, 2019  Pages: 320  Features: 28 b&w illus. Notes. Bib. Index.

The Other Toscanini is the only book in English about the Argentine conductor and composer Héctor Panizza (1875-1967). Known all over the world by his Italian name —Ettore— the maestro was in fact born in Buenos Aires and developed an astonishing international career, becoming music director of, successively, Covent Garden, la Scala (where he conducted alongside Arturo Toscanini), Teatro Colón, and the New York Metropolitan Opera. At the Met between 1934 and 1942, he was in charge of the Italian repertoire and started the first radio broadcasts, whose recordings are his most well-known. He conducted widely in Europe and the Americas and devoted part of his energies to composing, recording, and organizing musical institutions. Now virtually forgotten, Panizza’s name is being revived in this definitive biography, which describes both his life and his legacy, strongly associated with that of the great Arturo Toscanini. more... about The Other Toscanini: The Life and Works of Héctor Panizza

Vol. 12: A Life in Music from the Soviet Union to Canada: Memoirs of a Madrigal Ensemble Singer

Published: May, 2019  Pages: 448  Features: 50 b&w illus. Notes. Bib. Index.

A Life in Music from the Soviet Union to Canada: Memoirs of a Madrigal Ensemble Singer - Sound Files on Digital Library. more... about A Life in Music from the Soviet Union to Canada: Memoirs of a Madrigal Ensemble Singer

Vol. 11: All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music

Published: January, 2018  Pages: 320  Features: 80 b&w photos. Notes. Bib. Index.

A lavishly illustrated collection of forty-two profiles of Texas music pioneers, most underrated or overlooked, All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music covers the musical landscape of a most musical state. The first edition was published in 2005 to wide acclaim. This second edition includes updated information, a bonus section of six behind-the-scenes heroes, and fifteen new portraits of Lefty Frizzell, Janis Joplin, and others, spanning such diverse styles as blues, country, hip-hop, conjunto, gospel, rock, and jazz. more... about All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music

Bookcover: The View from the Back of the Band: The Life and Music of Mel Lewis Best Seller

Vol. 10: The View from the Back of the Band: The Life and Music of Mel Lewis

Published: July, 2016  Pages: 416  Features: 31 b&w photos. Notes. Bib. Index.

Mel Lewis (1929-1990) was born Melvin Sokoloff to Jewish Russian immigrants in Buffalo, New York. He first picked up his father’s drumsticks at the age of two and at 17 he was a full-time professional musician. The View from the Back of the Band is the first biography of this legendary jazz drummer. For over fifty years, Lewis provided the blueprint for how a drummer could subtly support any musical situation. While he made his name with Stan Kenton and Thad Jones, and with his band at the Village Vanguard, it was the hundreds of recordings that he made as a sideman and his ability to mentor young musicians that truly defined his career. more... about The View from the Back of the Band: The Life and Music of Mel Lewis

Vol. 9: A Day for Dancing: The Life and Music of Lloyd Pfautsch

Published: November, 2014  Pages: 256  Features: 26 b&w illus. App. Notes. Bib. Index.

After earning his theology degree from Union Seminary in New York, Lloyd Pfautsch (1921–2003) found his true calling in church music. He was invited to Southern Methodist University in 1958 to start their graduate program in sacred music and remained there for 34 years. Outside the university, he formed the Dallas Civic Chorus and led it for 25 years. He was nationally known for his conducting and the quality of the musicians he produced as well as for his compositions, many of which are illustrated here with his handwritten notations. more... about A Day for Dancing: The Life and Music of Lloyd Pfautsch

Vol. 8: The Original Guitar Hero and the Power of Music: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson, Music, and Civil Rights

Published: April, 2014  Pages: 384  Features: 23 b&w photos. Notes. Bib. Index.

Listen to the Dean Alger interview on the Big Road Blues Show: Big Road Blues Show (Rochester, NY); this show was called, New Orleans, They Call It the Land of Dreams — The Legendary Lonnie Johnson. more... about The Original Guitar Hero and the Power of Music: The Legendary Lonnie Johnson, Music, and Civil Rights

Vol. 7: Dennis Brain: A Life in Music

Published: May, 2011  Pages: 400  Features: 69 b&w photos. Notes. Bib. Index.

The British horn player Dennis Brain (1921-1957) is commonly described by such statements as “the greatest horn player of the 20th Century,” “a genius,” and “a legend.” He was both a prodigy and popularizer, famously performing a concerto on a garden hose in perfect pitch. On his usual concert instrument his tone was of unsurpassed beauty and clarity, complemented by a flawless technique. The recordings he made with Herbert von Karajan of Mozart’s horn concerti are considered the definitive interpretations. more... about Dennis Brain: A Life in Music

  • Certificate of Merit for Best Research in Recorded Classical Music, an ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, 2012

Vol. 6: Last Stop, Carnegie Hall: New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano

Published: April, 2011  Pages: 224  Features: 38 b&w photos. 32 music examples. Notes. Bib. Index.

William Vacchiano (1912-2005) was principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic from 1942 to 1973, and taught at Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music, Queens College, and Columbia Teachers College. While at the Philharmonic, Vacchiano performed under the batons of Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter, Dimitri Mitropoulos, and Leonard Bernstein and played in the world premieres of almost 200 pieces by such composers as Vaughan Williams, Copland, and Barber. Vacchiano was important not only for his performances, but also for his teaching. His students have held the principal chairs of many major orchestras and are prominent teachers themselves, and they have enriched non-classical music as well. Two of his better known students are Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis. more... about Last Stop, Carnegie Hall: New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano

Vol. 5: Stan Kenton: This Is an Orchestra!

Published: August, 2011  Pages: 400  Features: 40 b&w illus. Notes. Bib. Index.

Stan Kenton (1911—1979) formed his first full orchestra in 1940 and soon drew record-breaking crowds to hear and dance to his exciting sound. He continued to tour and record unrelentingly for the next four decades. Stan Kenton: This Is an Orchestra! sums up the mesmerizing bandleader at the height of his powers, arms waving energetically, his face a study of concentration as he cajoled, coaxed, strained, and obtained the last ounce of energy from every musician under his control. more... about Stan Kenton: This Is an Orchestra!

Vol. 4: Jade Visions: The Life and Music of Scott LaFaro

Published: August, 2014  Pages: 352  Features: 25 b&w illus. Notes. Bib. Discography. Index.

Jade Visions was selected as a title within the Best of the Best from University Presses 2010 program and presented at the annual American Library Association conference. You can view the C-SPAN BookTV video of the program featuring Jade Visions (at the 01:19:45 hour mark for a seven-minute discussion). more... about Jade Visions: The Life and Music of Scott LaFaro

  • Winner of the Best Book of 2009, Jazz Division, sponsored by AllAboutJazz-New York, 2009
  • Selected for "Best of the Best" from University Presses, ALA Annual Conference, 2010
  • Winner of the 2010 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Jazz, 2010

Vol. 3: One Man's Music: The Life and Times of Texas Songwriter Vince Bell

Published: April, 2009  Pages: 288  Features: 20 b&w illus. Index.

Texas singer/songwriter Vince Bell’s story begins in the 1970s. Following the likes of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Bell and his contemporaries Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, and Lucinda Williams were on the rise. In December of 1982, Bell was on his way home from the studio (where he and hired guns Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Johnson had just recorded three of Bell’s songs) when a drunk driver broadsided him at 65 mph. Thrown over 60 feet from his car, Bell suffered multiple lacerations to his liver, embedded glass, broken ribs, a mangled right forearm, and a severe traumatic brain injury. Not only was his debut album waylaid for a dozen years, life as he’d known it would never be the same. more... about One Man's Music: The Life and Times of Texas Songwriter Vince Bell

Vol. 2: Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley

Published: February, 2017  Pages: 288  Features: 25 b&w illus. Index.

Now an Independent Film more... about Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley

Bookcover: A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt Best Seller

Vol. 1: A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt

Published: February, 2010  Pages: 320  Features: 20 illus. Notes. Index.

This is the first serious biography of a man widely considered one of Texas’—and America’s—greatest songwriters. Like Jimmie Rodgers, Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams, Townes Van Zandt was the embodiment of that mythic American figure, the troubled troubadour. A Deeper Blue traces Van Zandt’s background as the scion of a prominent Texas family; his troubled early years and his transformation from promising pre-law student to wandering folk singer; his life on the road and the demons that pursued and were pursued by him; the women who loved and inspired him; and the brilliance and enduring beauty of his songs, which are explored in depth. more... about A Deeper Blue: The Life and Music of Townes Van Zandt