In the 18 profiles that make up this book, the reader will hear the stories-mostly in their own words-of a lively array of contributors to mainstream jazz and popular music. New York Post jazz critic Chip Deffaa has interviewed musicians both famous and not so famous-big band leaders like drum whiz Ray McKinley, Andy Kirk, and "Twentieth Century Gabriel" Erskine Hawkins; celebrated sidemen like clarinetist Johnny Mince and bassist Bob Haggart; 1920's trumpeter Doc Cheatham and arranger Bill Challis; 30's trumpeter Bill Dillard; 40's saxist George Kelly; and drummer Sonny Igoe, pianist Dick Hyman, and drummer Jack Hanna of more recent years; plus Buddy Morrow, Oliver Jackson, Mahlon Clark, Joe Wilder, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, and Ken Peplowski.
Chip Deffaa, a jazz critic for the New York Post and England's Crescendo International, has written for many jazz and popular publications and contributed to the landmark New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. He is the author of two previous jazz oral history books, Swing Legacy (Scarecrow Press and the Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies, 1990) and Voices of the Jazz Age (University of Illinois Press, 1990). He is at work on A Jazz Portrait Gallery.