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Book details
  • SubGenre:Entertainment & Performing Arts
  • Language:English
  • Pages:286
  • eBook ISBN:9780578625669

The Ballad of Tommy LiPuma

by Ben Sidran

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Gold Award, Independent Publisher Book Awards

Nominated, Award of Excellence in Historical Sound Research by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections

“I started Ben Sidran’s Tommy LiPuma book at 1:15 in the afternoon, and I just finished it at 7:30 tonight. I could not put it down. I blew off everything else. . . . I was engrossed.” --BOB LEFSETZ, The Lefsetz Letter

“An uncut gem, the music biography of the year.” --KYLE OLEKSIUK, The New York City Jazz Record

“As I turn the pages, it seems I keep hearing long-forgotten melodies in my head. Here’s a piece of music history vividly captured.” --HARUKI MURAKAMI

“A beautiful surprise arrived through the letterbox from America, The Ballad of Tommy LiPuma. . . . I’m fascinated by the work of A&R, the mega producers, and the history of how it all joins up. Tommy was one of the real greats. . . . An amazing guy and a fabulous book. --GILLES PETERSON

“The fast-moving, entertaining early sections come over a bit like ‘The Godfather Part II’ rewritten by Lord Buckley. . . . [The book] is warm, witty and resolutely un-PC, initially a portrait of the music biz’s bygone ‘Wild West’ era featuring an engaging roll call of shysters, hucksters and hipsters, but also encapsulating the whole history of modern recording techniques and philosophies. --movingtheriver.com

“Reads like Jimmy Breslin if the legendary journalist had an encyclopedic knowledge of recording.” --CLIVE YOUNG, Prosound News


The Ballad of Tommy LiPuma is the story of one of America's most successful record producers, whose work with seminal artists like Miles Davis, Diana Krall, Barbra Streisand, Rickie Lee Jones, George Benson, and Willie Nelson went on to sell over 75 million records. It is also an amazing picaresque journey that opens with the murder of a man on a dirt path in Sicily and concludes with five trips up the Grammy red carpet, a real-life Horatio Alger adventure that touches on bootleggers, gangsters, artists, hipsters, and the industry that changed popular culture around the world. Finally, it's a deeply personal account of how music saved one man's life, and how he went on to affect the lives of millions of others. The book includes Tommy LiPuma's complete discography.

About the author

Ben Sidran is widely recognized as the host of National Public Radio's landmark jazz series "Jazz Alive", which received a Peabody Award, and as the host of VH-1 television's "New Visions" series, which received the Ace Award for best music series. A pianist, producer, singer and composer, he has recorded more than thirty solo albums, including the Grammy nominated Concert for Garcia Lorca, and produced recordings for such noted artists as Van Morrison, Diana Ross, Michael Franks, Rickie Lee Jones, Mose Allison and Steve Miller (with whom he co-wrote the hit song "Space Cowboy"). He is the composer of the soundtrack for the acclaimed film Hoop Dreams, and scored the documentary Vietnam: Long Time Coming, which won both the Aspen Film Festival audience award and an Emmy. Sidran has authored two books on the subject of jazz, Black Talk, a cultural history of the music, and Talking Jazz, a series of conversations with inspirational musicians. He holds a PhD. in American Studies from Sussex University, Brighton, England, but has studiously avoided the academic life, preferring instead to spend his time performing, producing and writing. His latest works include the memoir, A Life in the Music and the groundbreaking text There Was a Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream, along with the recordings Dylan Different and Don't Cry For No Hipster.