Holding the Note

Writing on Music

David Remnick

272 pages Proofs in English Journalism

The Pulitzer Prize–winning author, journalist, and editor of The New Yorker gathers his writing on musicians and music, from opera and jazz to rock, pop, and the blues.

From the obsessive Charlie Parker expert Phil Schaap to the eternally major Paul McCartney; from the undimmed genius of Aretha Franklin to the torch-bearing octogenarian of the Chicago blues, Buddy Guy, these pieces bring us into close contact with a variety of musical standouts across the spectrum of genre, generation, and approaches to their art.

We’re treated to the pleasures we’ve come to expect from David Remnick: his signature ease on the page with subjects of all stripes, his perfectly turned sentences, and his deep and broad understanding of American popular culture.

We are also treated to the pleasure of his sheer love of music. “‘Respect’ is as precise an artifact as a Ming vase,” he writes, and it is with that same wit and reverence that he approaches each conversation, each melody, each shining soul in these indispensable explorations of the art perhaps most difficult to find words for.