Saturday, May 23, 2020

A Conversation with Chuck Par-Due on Harry James

Oregon-based musician and author Chuck Par-Due has recently published Harry James—Trumpet Icon, a new biography of trumpeter Harry James that concentrates primarily on his music. With a foreword written by none other than Harry James, Jr., Par-Due's book celebrates the music of one of the most successful musicians to ever come out of the Big Band Era and should be a welcome addition to the shelves of a myriad swing and jazz enthusiasts. Not only is the author a devoted collector and follower of James' music, but he had the privilege of knowing the great trumpeter personally and draws on a great deal of interviews that he has conducted with musicians who knew or worked closely with James. The fact that Par-Due is himself a musician certainly helps when it comes to offering a musician's view on James' work, and as a result, the book addresses several questions that James aficionados have been asking themselves for decades.

Author / musician Chuck Par-Due
On the occasion of the publication of the book, I had the chance to speak at length with Chuck Par-Due for a new episode of the Jazz Flashes Podcast, and our 85-minute conversation covers many topics, including the book, James' life and career, the heyday and demise of the Big Band Era, James' relationship with other great names such as Benny Goodman and Frank Sinatra, and many more. If you are interested, you may access the entire episode of the podcast here below, and of course, I encourage everyone to check out the book, which is currently available from Amazon here.