“I’ve been told that no one sings the word ‘hunger’ like I do. Or the word ‘love’.”Lady Sings the Blues is the inimitable autobiography of one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century. Born to a single mother in 1915 Baltimore, Billie Holiday had her first run-in with the law at aged 13. But Billie Holiday is no victim. Her memoir tells the story of her life spent in jazz, smoky Harlem clubs and packed-out concert halls, her love affairs, her wildly creative friends, her struggles with addiction and her adventures in love. Billie Holiday is a wise and aphoristic guide to the story of her unforgettable life.

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Born OTD in 1928, Jamaican musician who was bandmaster at the Alpha Cottage School, and also a vibraphone virtuoso, recording two albums for Studio One, Lennie Hibbert. At the age of eight he began attending the Alpha School, where he joined the school band as a drummer. He worked as a live musician in jazz groups in the 1960s, and frequently worked with the Sound Dimension band, recording some of the best-known riddims for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Before I left the valley I thought everywhere was like this. Then I went away for 40 years and when I came back I realized that nowhere was like this. ‘Laurie Lee walked out of his childhood village one summer morning to travel the world, but he was always drawn back to his beloved Slad Valley, eventually returning to make it his home. In this portrait of his Cotswold home, Laurie Lee guides us through its landscapes, and shares memories of his village youth – from his favourite pub, The Woolpack, to winter skating on the pond, the church through the seasons, local legends, learning the violin and playing jazz records in the privy on a wind-up gramophone.

A moving, never-before-published portrait of the landscape that shaped the life of Laurie Lee, the beloved author of Cider With … More

Will Ashon tells, in 36 interlinked ‘chambers’, the story of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and how it changed the world. As unexpected and complex as the album itself, Chamber Music ranges from provocative essays to semi-comic skits, from deep scholarly analysis to satirical celebration, seeking to contextualise, reveal and honour this singularly composite work of art. From the FBI’s war on drugs to the porn theatres of 42nd street, from the history of jazz to the future of politics, Chamber Music is an explosive and revelatory new way of writing about music and culture.

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How does one pay homage to A Tribe Called Quest? The seminal rap group brought jazz into the genre, resurrecting timeless rhythms to create masterpieces such as The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. Seventeen years after their last album, they resurrected themselves with an intense, socially conscious record, We Got It from Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service, which arrived when fans needed it most, in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib digs into the group’s history and draws from his own experience to reflect on how its distinctive sound resonated among fans like himself. The result is as ambitious and genre-bending as the rap group itself.

Abdurraqib traces the Tribe’s creative career, from their early days as part of the Afrocentric rap collective known as the … More

Following last year’s acclaimed Jazz On The Corner compilation 2019 again sees Martin Freeman team up with Acid Jazz’s renowned head honcho Eddie Piller to present a veritable and personal collection of tracks. Compiled from the pair’s personal favourites, be it hearing on the radio, word of mouth or Dj-ing – Soul On The Corner represents the entire gamut of soul from the sixties and seventies right up to the present as illustrated by the likes of Tommy McGhee and the Acid Jazz recent signee Laville.

Opening with the inimitable Bobby Womack and How Could You Break My Heart, as Piller explains; “I never tire of … More

The Legacy of the Blues : A Glimpse into the Art and the Lives of Twelve Great Bluesmen. Samuel Charters is a musicographer, novelist, poet, and producer of jazz and blues records who for many years has also been seriously interested in every aspect of black music. His book, The Country Blues, was the first to be published on the subject.

He began making field recordings in the South in the early 1950s and has subsequently produced many recordings, both of … More

Born OTD in 1949, American soul and jazz poet, musician, & spoken-word performer, Gil Scott-Heron. This is a story about talented but tortured souls and a fractured father & son relationship that kept apart Gillie Heron, who was once hailed by ’50k supporters..as the greatest thing seen at Celtic Park since goalposts arrived’. And Gil Scott-Heron, who a newspaper in 1975 said was ‘one of the most interesting new leaders of the black cause today’.

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Born OTD in 1922, American novelist, Jack Kerouac. Considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his method of spontaneous prose. Thematically, his work covers topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel.

Sal Paradise, a young innocent, joins his hero Dean Moriarty, a traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat, on … More