Music Book News (May 2018)

Paul Simon: The Life – new authorised biography – listen to extracts below.

Music Book News (May 2018)

A round-up of new and recent books.

Featured below: Julian Joseph on jazz performance; authorised biography of Paul Simon; James Joyce and Music; Steven Hyden on the end of classic rock; and Rob Young on avant-garde group CANPlease send information on new music books to editor [at]

Music of Initiative: Julian Joseph on Jazz
Julian Joseph
Omnibus Press
26 Apr 2018

In Music of Initiative, jazz pianist, composer, broadcaster and educator Julian Joseph shares his insights into the philosophy and practice of jazz performance. With text, imagery, downloadable exercises and videos, Music of Initiative teaches you to immerse yourself in music, and how to approach learning repertoire and improvisation.


Paul Simon: The Life
Robert Hilburn
8 May 2018
Simon and Schuster

Paul Simon has spoken in songs for a half-century about alienation, doubt, survival and faith in ways that have established him as one of the great songwriters in American pop music history. For this biography, he spoke to renowned biographer Robert Hilburn for more than sixty hours. Paul Simon: The Life is a revealing account of his life and work. Bono writes: ‘There’s no tougher a mind, no more tender a voice than Paul Simon, and there’s no better man than Robert Hilburn to decipher the hardwiring of this hyperintellect … great songs can never be fully explained, but the great man on his way to find those songs surely can.’


James Joyce and Absolute Music
Michelle Witen
Bloomsbury Academic
February 2018

Drawing on draft manuscripts and other archival material, James Joyce and Absolute Music explores Joyce’s deep engagement with musical structure. Witen examines his claim of having structured the ‘Sirens’ episode of Ulysses as a fuga per canonem, the musical aspects of Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and the ‘pure music’ of Finnegans Wake.


Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock
Steven Hyden
8 May 2018

Since the late 1960s, a cadre of artists such as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Black Sabbath and the Who have revolutionized popular culture. While their songs still get airtime and some of these bands continue to tour, its idols are leaving the stage permanently. Steven Hyden asks: can classic rock remain relevant as these legends die off, or will this major musical subculture fade away?


All Gates Open
Rob Young, Irmin Schmidt
3 May 2018

All Gates Open presents the story of the influential avant-garde band CAN. It consists of two books. In Book One, Rob Young – author of Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music – provides the biography of a band that emerged at the vanguard of what would come to be called the Krautrock scene in late sixties Cologne. Book Two, Can Kiosk, is assembled by founding member Irmin Schmidt as a ‘collage’.


Please send information on new music books to editor [at]

Published on 11 May 2018

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