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What’s the point of having a blog if I can’t occasionally indulge in self-promotion? So if you’ll forgive my blatancy for a moment, today marks the official pub date of my new book, 1959: The Year Everything Changed. Unlike my last book, which was entirely about foreign policy, this one actually might be of some interest to the readers of this space, because it covers not just politics but also culture, society, science, sex—as the title suggests, everything. More to the point, there are three chapters (out of 25) that deal explicitly with jazz. (Key jazz albums of 1959 included Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come, and Dave Brubeck’s Time Out.) There’s also a chapter about the creation of Motown (another 1959 phenomenon), and a jazz-blues vibe infuses the whole book.

For reviews, blurbs, excerpts, a schedule of my upcoming appearances, and more, go to my website. To buy the book, click here.

John Atkinson's picture

Good to hear you discuss the book so eloquently on Fresh Air this week, Fred. I am looking forward to reading it.

Tony's picture

Fred, go ahead and promote the book. Not only doesn't it bother me, I was glad to hear of it, and am putting it on my reading list. Seems like others are too, as it has a very respectable Amazon sales rank, and a slew of comments. Thanks for documenting the mad delusional imperial conduct of the Bush regime.

Wes Phillips's picture

Looking forward to reading the book, Fred. You'recorrect to recommend The Rest is Noise. I've been reading it since Christams and it's amazing. Ross writes about music with passion and an ear for the telling detail.

Gregor Samsa's picture

Just heard you interviewed on NPR recently. A much-needed counterbalance to Cordesman. You have helped to rehabilitate the audiophile community.

Mike Goering's picture

hey Fred - missed you in hutch recently (live in AZ) but my Mom sent me the article from your book presentation. so - do you write about your system too? equipment? some of the best music that's been on tour the past 3 years is Dweezil Zappa's band playing exclusively from Dad Frank's amazing catalog. any discussion of today's great playing guitarists is lacking without mention of dweezil.As you are a Jazz fan, give it a try - you will be amazed at the statistical density and control of the band.

Henry Wang's picture

I would think you could pick almost any year musically and cite key albums that changed everything.

Fred Kaplan's picture

First, the book is not entirely about music. Second, read it, then tell me I've got it wrong...Fred

tom g's picture

what about GIANT STEPS & PORTRAIT IN JAZZ? and Lee Konitz / Warne Marsh at the Half Note? TIME OUT is overrated, compared to the newer odd meter stuff it is just ridiculous ... but I really dig Paul Desmond ...

Fred Kaplan's picture

Yes, GIANT STEPS is mentioned, as are Cecil Taylor and a few others. TIME OUT is written about in the context of the Jazz Diplomats' State Department tours, specifically Brubeck's trip to the Middle East and Turkey, and Americans' growing appetite for things foreign....Fred

Mike's picture

Hi Fred,I've been thinking about '59 quite a bit lately, particularly after hearing Gordon Vernick's (Georgia State Jazz musician/professor) podcast on jazz in ‘59. It's good to see your book is coming out and extending the conversation beyond just the music. I'm currently a PhD student in an English department and thinking of proposing this for a course. This might allow me to send some love your way, as I would most likely use your text. I was wondering if any other novels from this time period come to mind? I'm trying to think of specific books that came out around this time and tied into the other changes in American art/culture but haven't come up with anything yet. Congratulations on the book, I always enjoy reading your insightful posts here as well.

Fred Kaplan's picture

Thanks much, I appreciate. Novels of that year included Burroughs' "Naked Lunch," Roth's "Goodbye, Columbus," and - most important of all - the debut publication of the uncensored text of D.H. Lawrence's "Lady Chatterley's Lover," as a result of a lawsuit, filed by Grove Press' Barney Rosset, which toppled the nation's obscenity laws. Check it out...Fred

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