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Mike D.

gchesterbelloc

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  • Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Terry Teachout
    • Narrated By Peter Francis James
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century - and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of high school to become one of the world's most famous musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as in the nightclubs where he honed his style.

    John says: "This audiobook needs music"
    "Worthy Successor to "Pops""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Duke?

    I appreciated Ellington's long career being put in a historical context. The watershed compositions were critically discussed. His relationships with his managers, sidemen, and various recording companies were of interest. His dealing with women and family gave a revealing look into the man, not just the composer/performer.


    What other book might you compare Duke to and why?

    If you liked the author's autobiography of Louis Armstrong, "Pops", you'll enjoy this latest effort.


    What about Peter Francis James’s performance did you like?

    Wonderful reading. While not exactly imitating Ellington's voice, the reader does a marvelous job of conveying the Duke's self-promoting erudite air of slickness and urbanity. You get the feeling that you're actually hearing Ellington speak.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    The length precluded listening to it one sitting, but I've already listened to it twice.


    Any additional comments?

    I confess to being a huge Terry Teachout fan. When I receive my monthly issue of "Commentary" magazine, his column is always the first thing I read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jim Henson: The Biography

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Brian Jay Jones
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (314)
    Performance
    (294)
    Story
    (294)

    For the first time ever - a comprehensive biography of one of the 20th century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters born of his fertile imagination: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were just part of his remarkable story.

    Ted says: "Dramatically complete"
    "Nice man, nice story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Jim Henson rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Somewhere in the middle.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Henson himself. It was instructive to read how someone with an almost childlike optimism could not only function, but thrive amidst the corporate sharks.


    Which character – as performed by Kirby Heyborne – was your favorite?

    Kirby Heyborne's narration is flawless. With a few exceptions he avoids any attempts at outright impersonations of the story's principle characters. His changes in inflection and accents are just enough to convey a particular personality.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    1 or 2 hours a day was sufficient.


    Any additional comments?

    Making use of YouTube while listening to this book added greatly to its enjoyment. The early efforts, e.g., the Wilkin's Coffee comercials are there, as well as representative samples of all the television and film work over Henson's career. At the end of the book I was please to find that much of the moving NYC Memorial Service was also available for viewing on YouTube. That brought the entire listening experience to a satisfying, and emotional, conclusion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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