One nation under a groove

Two articles on composers have an element of human interest that may entice you regardless of your musical taste. The Telegraph has a profile of Barry White, who died on July 4. The writer interviewed him in October 1999 and appears to have saved all of her notes: “People call me the guru of love, but I’m a simple man.”
The New York Times Sunday Magazine has a long profile of Adam Guettel, the grandson of Richard Rodgers: “A complicated gift.” Unfortunately, unlike the music of Barry White, I haven’t heard a note of Guettel’s music and can’t say whether he warrants the attention.
While we’re in the neighborhood of the subject, I recommend a review of a widely reviewed book by Arthur Kempton, the son of legendary New York journalist Murray Kempton, on the development of black popular music from gospel composer Thomas Dorsey, to Sam Cooke, to Berry Gordy, to Stax Records, to the execrable Suge Night. The book is Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music, and the best review of it I have read is by Luc Sante in the current issue of the New York Review of Books: “One nation under a groove.”

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