Gary Giddins, winner of the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award, has a following that includes not only jazz enthusiasts but also pop music fans of every stripe. Writing here in a lyrical and celebratory style all his own, Giddins dazzlingly shows us among many other things how performers originally perceived as radical (Bing Crosby, Count Basie, Elvis Presley) became conservative institutions . . . how Charlie Parker created a masterpiece from the strain of an inane ditty . . . how the Dominoes helped combine church ritual with pop music . . . and how Irving Berlin translated a chiaroscuro of Lower East Side minorities into imperishable songs.

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