The Ghosts of Harlem

Article excerpt

The Ghosts of Harlem by Hank O'Neal Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville, 2009, 496 pp, with 470 illustrations; hardback, approx $50 via Amazon (US).

This large and impressive volume is the work of the founder and present owner of Chiaroscuro Records, Hank O'Neal. The book is divided into 3 parts with the first section being labeled "Introduction" and this gives a brief history of Harlem Jazz and the purpose of the book. The second section is "Discovering Lost Locations". Here are many photographs taken both in 1996 and 2007.

It shows a rebirth of the area and also the fact that jazz is returning to the area. The final part is the interviews with 43 jazz musicians. It begins with a chapter providing a guide to the interviews followed by the actual interviews. Each story is unique with editing by the author only for the sake of clarity and accuracy. The volume has many photographs throughout the book, with many taken at the time of each interview. In other words many of the photographs are in the homes of the musicians, making them very special. Most of them are by Mr. O'Neal but there are others from Milt Hinton, and many come from the famous Frank Driggs collection. Also scattered through the volume are reproductions of many 78 rpm record labels.

At the end of the book is a selected discography plus the index and acknowledgements. …


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