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Wildman of Rhythm: The Life & Music of Benny Moreby John Radanovich
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Drawing from interviews with musicians and family members, Radanovich, a music and entertainment journalist, provides a biography of Cuban singer Benny Moré (1919-1963). Within the context of Cuban music and culture of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, he describes Moré's childhood, the bands he sang with, the songs he wrote that became Cuban big band standards, recordings, tours, his struggles with alcoholism, and death from cirrhosis at the age of forty-four. B&w photos and a discography are included. Annotation Â©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The first English-language biography of the singer known as the Cuban Sinatra
"An important and highly entertaining book that tells the story of the great and troubled Cuban singer Benny More. Helps roll back the curtain that often comes between American audiences and their appreciation of the great musical cultures to the south."--Sam Charters, author of A Language of Song: Journeys into the Musical World of the African Diaspora
"An informative and compelling chronicle on the life of Cuba's most dazzling singer, Benny More, tidily strung together as a series of small bright story-jewels."--Ann Louise Bardach, author of Cuba Confidential
Benny More (1919-1963) was one of the giants at the center of the golden age of Cuban music. Arguably the greatest singer ever to come from the island, his name is still spoken with reverence and nostalgia by Cubans and Cuban exiles alike.
Unable to read music, he nevertheless wrote more than a dozen Cuban standards. His band helped shape what came to be known as the Afro-Cuban sound and, later, salsa. More epitomized the Cuban big-band era and was one of the most important precursors to the music later featured in the Buena Vista Social Club. Even now, to hear his recordings for the first time, it is impossible not to be thrilled and amazed.
Journalist John Radanovich has spent years tracking down the musicians who knew More and More family members, seeking out rare recordings and little-known photographs. Radanovich provides the definitive biography of the man and his music, whose legacy was forgotten in the larger scheme of political difficulties between the United States and Cuba. Even the exact spelling of More's first name was unknown until now. The author also examines the milieu of Cuban music in the 1950s, when Havana was the playground of Hollywood stars and the Mafia ran the nightclubs and casinos.
About the Author
John Radanovich has published articles and reviews in Living Blues and New Orleans Times-Picayune. He has covered the New York music scene for the Bergen Record newspaper, and has written about Latin music, jazz, and world music for Offbeat and Downbeat.
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