Reviews of The Boston Jazz Chronicles

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jazz_lives“What makes this book rise above the information and stories collected within it is Vacca’s skill as researcher, editor, writer, and presenter. The first thing a reader will notice is his lively but not flashy writing style: I’d call it refined, erudite journalism— fast-moving but never superficial. He is a great storyteller, with a fine eye for the telling detail but someone who leaves a reader wanting more…I’ve finished reading it, but it remains on my desk—an irresistible distraction, a book I have been returning to often. It’s a remarkable accomplishment—literate, vivid, accurate, and animated.”

— Michael Steinman, writer and producer of the popular blog Jazz LivesRead his full review.

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IAJRC“There are no stylistic problems here; modern jazz, the Dixieland revival, big bands and piano trios are covered without any discernible favoritism. There is a selective list of recommended records, mostly favorites of the author, some of them impossibly rare. Highly recommended.”

— Bob Porter, record producer, discographer, and Grammy-winning writer, in his review published in the December 2012 IAJRC Journal, the quarterly magazine of the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors. Read his full review.

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New_England_Public_Radio

“This essential Baedeker to the Boston scene is a guide to the districts, the venues, and the players who made the Hub one of the most dynamic centers of jazz during the 25-year period that begins in the Swing Era and carries through to Boston’s influential role as an incubator of post-modern jazz. Highest marks to author and indefatigable researcher Dick Vacca; this labor of love should serve as the model for similar studies of other urban and regional jazz centers.”

 Tom Reney, WFCR radio, Amherst, and New England Public Radio’s Jazz Blog

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The_Arts_Fuse“Richard Vacca’s The Boston Jazz Chronicles will be a foundational document that other researchers will turn to again and again as they delve into more specific niches of Boston jazz history and unearth as yet unknown artifacts of this era and its neglected body of music.”

 J.R. Carroll, The Arts Fuse jazz columnist. Read his full November 19, 2012 review, “The Boston Jazz Chronicles—Indispensable History.”

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Carol Sloane

The Boston Jazz Chronicles is a richly textured treasure trove of a book, describing in loving detail a city’s undeniable devotion to jazz, the musicians who played it, the venues which presented it, and the knowledgeable audiences who supported it. A sincere and carefully researched, well-written journal of a once lush and nurturing environment for jazz in the city of Boston. Highly recommended.”

— Carol Sloane, American jazz singer

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“I’ve read them all—the books on Boston sports, politicians, landmarks, criminals, restaurants, et al. Finally, an irresistible history of Boston Jazz and the great men and women who made it. Dick Vacca’s book provides us with just the backdrop needed to understand and appreciate the impact of jazz in the Hub. And it sure is fun! Required reading for true lovers of music who happen to be fans of our city.”

— Jordan Rich, WBZ radio, Boston

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“A note to congratulate you on the release of your Boston Jazz Chronicles. It is a masterwork of faces/places/nightlife in Boston—and totally accurate, I might add. I should know. I was there.”

— Ray Santisi, Jazz musician and educator, Berklee College of Music

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Jazzed“What a wonderful book! I’m glad I stayed alive long enough to see this story in print. It brought me back to one of the most exciting periods in my whole life. These Chronicles are very well researched—I was very much a part of the Boston jazz scene for years, and I learned a lot about even those years from Vacca’s book.”

— Nat Hentoff, author and NEA Jazz Master, who first discovered jazz at the age of 12, and is still discovering it 75 years later. (Nat Hentoff wrote a lengthy essay on The Boston Jazz Chronicles, “Make Room for Boston in Jazz History,” in the July 2012 issue of JAZZed magazine. Hentoff was quite active on the Boston scene before his move to New York in 1953, and he uses the text as the means to recall those years.)

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“It’s impossible to view this book as anything but required reading for those interested in the music and the city…Vacca has crafted a conversational though highly detailed account of the times and the constantly shifting musical tastes of Boston. A valuable addition to any jazz library; essential to libraries of the region.”

 Library Journal, reviewed May 1, 2012 issue

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Living_with_Jazz“Boston was (and still is) a very special place for jazz, and this is a very special book, loaded with information, much of it new, all of it presented in a most engaging style, and seasoned with rare photos and replica. A veritable treasure-trove of jazz lore, and a great read!”

— Dan Morgenstern, author of Living with Jazz and Director Emeritus of the Institute of Jazz Studies

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Lennies_on_the_Turnpike

“A hell of a job!”

— Lennie Sogoloff, proprietor, Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike, Peabody, Mass.

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“This is the book that many of us have been waiting for. Thank you Richard Vacca for giving us so much information on the rich history of jazz in Boston. The maps and pictures are wonderful additions to our knowledge of not only Boston jazz, but also the history of the city. I know that this is a book that I will turn to again and again.”

— Eric Jackson of WGBH radio, Boston

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“A tremendous piece of work, well written and researched. It’s some of the best writing on the subject of regional jazz that I’ve read. The depth of the information Vacca has amassed on the Boston scene is incredible…A wonderful and valuable book.”

— Robert Freedman, composer, educator, and Grammy-winning arranger

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Newport_Jazz_festivalThe Boston Jazz Chronicles brought back memories of my years in Boston, at Storyville in Kenmore Square and Copley Square. Every Boston jazz fan must read this book. You won’t put it down until every page is read.”

— George Wein, legendary club owner and founder of the Newport Jazz Festival

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“What a fabulous book! Engaging, expertly researched, and a great read. Brimming with lively profiles of people and places. Even the most knowledgeable jazz fan will find much that is new, surprising, and insightful in these pages. This is an important book for jazz, and for Boston.”

— Mark Harvey, composer and director of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

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“Sabby Lewis, Bobby Hackett, Al Vega, Herb Pomeroy, Dick Johnson, Joe Gordon, and many other jazz greats began their careers in Boston. In The Boston Jazz Chronicles, Richard Vacca tells the story of the clubs and people who made the city one of the leading centers for the music from the late thirties to the early sixties. With rare photos and interviews with musicians, I felt I was back at Storyville, the Hi-Hat, and Connolly’s diggin’ the sounds! It’s a fascinating journey back to an era that proves our city should always be a part of any discussion about our country’s jazz history.”

— Ron Della Chiesa, WPLM radio, Plymouth and longtime Music America host

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“What impresses me most about The Boston Jazz Chronicles is the research and the incredible level of detail. I haven’t thought about some of these places in years—Vacca gets into every nook and cranny where jazz was played in Boston in the fifties.”

Fred Taylor, proprietor of the legendary nightclubs Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop, and current entertainment director at Scullers Jazz Club

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