By Richard M. Sudhalter
Georgia on My brain, Rockin' Chair, Skylark, Lazybones, and naturally the incomparable celebrity Dust--who else may have composed those vintage American songs yet Hoagy Carmichael? He is still, for thousands, the voice of heartland the United States, everlasting counterpoint to the city sensibility of Cole Porter and George Gershwin. Now, trumpeter and historian Richard M. Sudhalter has penned the 1st book-length biography of the guy Alec Wilder hailed as "the so much proficient, creative, refined and jazz-oriented of the entire nice songwriters--the maximum of the nice craftsmen." Stardust Melody follows Carmichael from his roaring-twenties Indiana early life to bandstands and recording studios around the country, enjoying piano and making a song along jazz greats Jack Teagarden, Benny Goodman, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, and shut acquaintances Bix Beiderbecke and Louis Armstrong. It illuminates his height Hollywood years, starring in such movies as To Have and feature now not and the easiest Years of Our Lives, and on radio, documents and television. With compassionate perception Sudhalter depicts Hoagy's triumphs and tragedies, and his mounting melancholy as rock-and-roll drowns out and lays waste to the final days of an excellent occupation. With an insider's readability Sudhalter explores the songs themselves, nonetheless clean and attractive whereas reminding us of our blameless American yesterdays. Drawing on Carmichael's inner most papers and on interviews with relatives, neighbors and associates, he unearths that "The previous song grasp" used to be nearly as proficient a wordsmith as a shaper of melodies. In all, Stardust Melody bargains a richly textured portrait of 1 of our best musical figures, an inspiring American icon.
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Extra resources for Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael
More and more, his every waking moment reﬂects fascination with his mother’s keyboard skills. Two-steps, he recalls later, “were the rage, and mother could play them in swell style. ”8 In 1912, shortly after the birth of a second daughter, Martha Claire, Cyclone Carmichael found work in Bedford, some twenty miles south of Bloomington. His son speaks of it as if the family, uprooted again, had moved there and suffered for a year before returning to Bloomington, but that’s unlikely: Bedford is not far enough away to warrant such a convulsion, and no break appears in the boy’s public school records.
Immediately, a piercing yell broke loose from the crowd! No one marched; everyone broke into a wild swing, and Jordan’s changed the rhythm to a one-step. This was too much! When those “dinges” whipped that tune into a wild, almost blood-curdling shriek of weird harmony as they came into the last chorus, I got the spirit of jazz like a Congo medicine man. I wilted to the ﬂoor! I was half insane! Kate only stood there, hysterical . . At ﬁrst, Jordan’s men acted like scared monkeys behind a cage; they had never seen anything like it, but they soon got the spirit themselves and were off again in a frenzy.
In late 1919 Batty headed east, soon joining up with Johnson and fellowHoosiers Gene (saxophone) and Dudley (mellophone) Fosdick. An early 1920s photo of a saxophone sextet sponsored by Paul Whiteman includes DeMarcus, Gene Fosdick, and the brilliant but now largely forgotten Loring McMurray, who made several outstanding records at the time but died young, before mid-decade. Between 1920 and 1923 DeMarcus enjoyed a successful New York career, working with major bands and recording widely. In 1923 he accepted an invitation to join the house band at London’s Savoy Hotel, the Savoy Orpheans, alongside fellow-Americans Al and Ray Starita and pianist-songwriter Carroll Gibbons.