Howard Reich has reported on jazz for the Chicago Tribune for almost four decades, and in this time he has met musicians both celebrated and obscure. From his exclusive interviews with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, and Ella Fitzgerald, to profiles of the early masters like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday, this book illustrates Reich’s deep understanding of the performances, recordings, and cultural legacies of these jazz masters.
This book, comprising Reich’s award-winning Chicago Tribune articles, shows readers his unmatched critical insight and unrivaled access to the diverse range of jazz musicians the world over, including the little-known artists who, while never in the national spotlight, were nonetheless instrumental to the evolution of jazz. Divided thematically, Portraits in Jazz is a journey from the time of jazz music’s originators, great singers, and early masters through to its courageous standouts, game changers, and regional influencers from Chicago to Cuba and across the globe.
Reich, himself a piano performance major at Northwestern University, says in the introduction that studying theory and history are essential to understanding jazz’s inner-workings. But these portraits weren’t created as academic theses or history-book lessons. They are on-the-spot, in the heat of the moment questions of its greatest practitioners, articles and essays in the here and now, taking readers one step closer to the meaning of sound.