Monday Book Recommendation: Lilian Terry’s Jazz Friends


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Lilian Terry, Dizzy Duke Brother Ray And Friends (Illinois)

Lilian Terry’s book is full of anecdotes about her friendships with the musicians mentioned in the title—and dozens of others. Enjoying modest renown in Europe for her singing, Ms. Terry has also been involved in radio and television broadcasting and is a cofounder of the European Jazz Federation. Her activities brought her in close contact with Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. She conducted extensive interviews with Ray Charles, who is quoted at length on musical and racial matters. Gillespie’s roguish personality comes through clearly, as does the sincerity that shone through the graciousness with which Ellington could seem to be parodying himself. She tells a touching story of Strayhorn providing her a lyric to his “Star Crossed Lovers,” which she later sang, managing to recall Johnny Hodges’ alto saxophone solos on the piece with the Ellington band. The word “I” is prominent throughout—justifiably.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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