"James Ransome’s glorious art celebrates jazz icon Sonny Rollins and how he found an inspired spot to practice his saxophone when his neighbors complained.
Sonny Rollins loved his saxophone. As a teenager, he was already playing with jazz stars and making a name for himself. But in 1959, at age twenty-nine, he took a break from performing—to work on being a better, not just famous, musician. Practicing in a city apartment didn’t please the neighbors, so Sonny found a surprising alternative—the Williamsburg Bridge. There, with his head in the clouds and foghorns for company, Sonny could play to his heart’s content and perfect his craft. It was a bold choice, for a bold young man and musician.
Sonny’s passion for music comes alive in jazzy text and vivid, evocative paintings of New York City. His story celebrates striving to be your very best self, an inspiration to music lovers young and old." -- publisher
"The poignant story of Blind Willie Johnson—the legendary Texas musician whose song “Dark Was the Night” was included on the Voyager I space probe’s Golden Record
Willie Johnson was born in 1897, and from the beginning he loved to sing—and play his cigar box guitar. But his childhood was interrupted when he lost his mother and his sight. How does a blind boy make his way in the world? Fortunately for Willie, the music saved him and brought him back into the light. His powerful voice, combined with the wailing of his slide guitar, moved people. Willie made a name for himself performing on street corners all over Texas. And one day he hit it big when he got a record deal and his songs were played on the radio. Then in 1977, his song—“Dark Was the Night”—was chosen to light up the darkness when it was launched into space on the Voyager I space probe’s famous Golden Record. His immortal song was selected for the way it expresses the loneliness humans all feel, while reminding us we’re not alone." -- publisher
"The audience was completely silent the first time Billie Holiday performed a song called “Strange Fruit.” In the 1930s, Billie was known as a performer of jazz and blues music, but this song wasn’t either of those things. It was a song about injustice, and it would change her life forever. Discover how two outsiders—Billie Holiday, a young black woman raised in poverty, and Abel Meeropol, the son of Jewish immigrants—combined their talents to create a song that challenged racism and paved the way for the Civil Rights movement." -- publisher
Tells the story of the legendary jazz musician, from his deeply religious childhood to his career as a boundary- breaking musician who found inspiration in his own unique approach to both spirituality and music
Before he became one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Jimi Hendrix was a boy who loved to paint and listen to records, and who asked himself an unusual question: could someone paint pictures with sound?