ReviewsStraight off – let me say that I think this book is wonderful, simply wonderful... Too often, major superlatives are applied to relatively minor achievements in the documentation of all strains of American Roots Music – but with a book such as this, a reviewer’s hackneyed final words of ‘essential’ ‘recommended’ or even ‘highly recommended’ seem somehow totally inadequate. So I’ll boldly go further and conclude that absolutely anyone with the faintest interest in Jazz, New Orleans born or otherwise, or any keeper of the printed word interested in the brilliant and fascinating spoken words and wisdom of an equally brilliant and fascinating man should get a copy of this book – it will probably be the best of it’s kind you’ll ever own. OTT? I don't think so.
Vintage Jazz Mart
Well worth the wait. ...Fascinating photos, quite a few previously unpublished... Filled with new information and fascinating recollections by Russell of his conversations and experiences with early jazz players. This is a very important addition to the jazz literature and is worthy of the highest recommendation.
How can anyone review this masterpiece? These interviews of Russell are transcribed directly from the recordings, inevitably resulting in occasional repetition in his anecdotes, but the overall effect allows the reader to almost hear the man himself talking.... A homage to Bill Russell, the book builds a picture of this complex man by interspersing other interviews, recollections, articles, program notes, and photographs, and adding reminiscences by many of us who knew him or benefitted directly from his selfless efforts on our behalf, including George Avakian, his brother William Wagner, Frederic Ramsey, Jr., Mahalia Jackson, Doc Souchon, Lars Edegran and Dick Allen. Sadly, the authors were too late to obtain contributions from John Cage and Alan Lomax.
Clive Wilson, OffBeat Magazine
For anyone who is interested in the resurgence of interest in New Orleans jazz from the late 1930s on this book is a must read. In reading it I found a great similarity to talking with Bill Russell in person where he would answer questions with multiple diversions, all of considerable interest, making you wish that you had a tape recorder turned on at the time. It is a book that is packed with information and one that I can recommend to any interested party.
Charlie Crump, Hot News