What a Wonderful World
NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW
Title: What a Wonderful World; Bob Theile and Bob Golden;
Publisher: Oxford University Press; SBN: 0-19-508629-5;
Hardcover, 182 pages plus CD; US$19.95, CAN$32.95
Reviewer: A. T. Connellan,"Those of us who share a life-long love
affair with jazz, will endorse Steve Allen's adoring and accurate
foreword, and agree that, to the very last page, Theile pays a well
deserved tribute to his favorite musical genre."
What a Wonderful World, Book, and CD
What a wonderful book and compact disk. Bob Theile has, at
various times, been an A & R man, DJ, dance band leader, producer,
publisher, songwriter, and many times a record label owner. To
bring us his account of the music business from an insiders
perspective, he has drawn on a sizeable reserve of chutzpah,
solid experience, and a successful track record spanning almost
Jazzman Sonny Rollins said two things that should apply to
Bob Theile. "Jazz is in the genes, you just gotta nurture it," and
"What's the use of livin' to be a hundred, if you don't do nuthin'."
This book is Bob Theile's account of his first sixty years of nurturing,
living, and doing.
His love for the music, respect for the musicians, and a call-a-spade-a-shovel
directness color this account, co-authored with Bob Golden. The wins and
the losses are related with humor and without rancor or bravura, that is
remarkable in an industry driven by egos that often defy description.
Theile's "gee whiz" candor has served him well and opened a lot of doors.
At various times his colorfully named record labels such as "Flying Dutchman,"
"Red Baron," etc., have featured Jackie Wilson, Erroll Garner, Buddy Holly
and the Crickets, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Dizzy
Gillespie, Count Basie, Henry Mancini, B.B. King, and many, many others.
This book discloses the behind-the-scenes tales and they are fascinating.
The pages are populated with greats from jazz and pop fields that he
recruited, produced, and marketed. Theile's perceptive eye and flair
or the descriptive will delight readers. He recreates the New York music
scene of his youth so well we can almost smell it. He also treats us to an
hysterically funny account of the drunken behavior of Decca Record
executives at a party held in honor of Deutsche Grammophon personnel.
The much-beloved song that became the title for the book, and a huge
hit for Louis Armstrong he co-wrote with George David Weiss, and was
only one of a string of compositions he had a hand in.
There is a companion CD [Sony Disk #0-7464-64602-2] by the same name.
It features his wife of 26 years Teresa Brewer who will surprise us with her
silken voice and remarkable phrasing, on the jazz standards; "Misty, and
I Can't Give You Anything But Love." A far cry from the likes of the "Put Another
Nickel in etc..." that she is perhaps best known for.
It is lovingly crafted and features selectively assembled artists, like Wynton
Marsalis, Clark Terry and McCoy Tyner. The CD is well worth the regular
price of $13.79.
Those of us who share a life-long love affair with jazz, will endorse Steve
Allen's adoring and accurate foreword, and agree that, to the very last page,
Theile pays a well deserved tribute to his favorite musical genre.
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