The View from the Back of the Band - The Life and Music of Mel Lewis

  • Posted on: 9 March 2015
  • By: sheldonkreger

While history holds a seemingly endless list of great drummers, any person interested in the history of jazz drumming will appreciate the life story of Mel Lewis. Having performed on a whopping 630 recordings, it's almost impossible that you've never heard his playing.

This fantastic book by Chris Smith is a heartfelt look at the life and career of the great Mel Lewis. In fact, the book itself is as wide in scope as Lewis's career; and it traverses depth comparable to Lewis's playing. It is an extremely extensive Mel Lewis biography which will leave no reader unsatisfied.

The meat of the book is a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the major phases of Lewis's career. From his early years in New York City, to his long-term stay at The Village Vanguard, the interested reader will find stories and endless detail about each major event in Mel's life.

In addition, the book includes some great black-and-white photographs of Lewis with friends and musicians. And, there is an entire chapter dedicated to conversations with Lewis's friends, who share their warmest memories of their time with him.

The book ends with several transcriptions of important works Lewis played. There is a timeline of Lewis's selection of gear, and a great discography of the author's favorite recordings.

If you are a fan of Mel Lewis, there is absolutely no doubt that this book belongs on your shelf. Or, if you're interested generally in the history of jazz music in America, this book will reveal a new level of detail about one of the greatest drummers and band leaders in the country.

Purchase from UNT: https://untpress.unt.edu/catalog/3616

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

Author: 
Chris Smith
Publisher: 
UNT Press

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