|Little Melba and her big trombone|
Author: Russell-Brown, Katheryn
A biography of African American musician Melba Doretta Liston, a virtuoso musician who played the trombone and composed and arranged music for many of the great jazz musicians of the twentieth century.
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|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: .5 Quiz: 171228
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, 2015
Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/15/14)
School Library Journal (07/01/14)
The Hornbook (00/11/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/15/2014 Melba Doretta Liston grew up surrounded by music in Depression era Kansas City and L.A., and all through her family’s home, notes stirred and rhythms bubbled. Even though her first trombone was almost bigger than she was, she couldn’t keep her hands off of it. The cool brass of the horn felt swell on her fingers, and soon this trombone phenom was playing on the radio, writing tunes, and touring the world. As an African American woman, she experienced tough times along the way, but neither the fans nor the music would give up on Melba, and her career and accolades continued into the 1990s. In a smoothly paced narrative, this picture-book biography surveys the full life arc of a relatively unknown and unique jazz master. Brimming with inherent and inescapable enthusiasm, the oil-paint illustrations are the cat’s pajamas, with brassy colors and jazzy perspectives that slide across the long pages, like Melba’s own instrument. A strong afterword, discography, and source notes round out this enlightening, enjoyable introduction. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2014 Gr 2–5—Music lovers will enjoy this picture-book biography of Melba Liston (1926–99), child prodigy and virtuoso trombonist who collaborated with most 20th century jazz greats. An excellent match of breezy text and dynamic illustrations tells an exhilarating story. Always in tune with music, seven-year-old Melba chose her first instrument from Joe's Music Truck. Self-taught and determined, she survived the gender-based taunts of high school boys while playing in Alma Hightower's after-school music club (using her horn to "turn all those hurt feelings into soulful music") and racial discrimination while touring with Billie Holiday's band. In the end, Liston "[made] her trombone sing" for audiences around the world and was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. Russell-Brown's text engages the senses ("[Melba] especially loved Fats Waller, with his growly voice and booming piano"), while Morrison's distinctive illustrations, stretched out like a slide trombone, draw the eye across each spread to the page turn. Back matter includes a detailed afterword with two photographs and a bibliography of books, articles, interviews, radio broadcasts, and websites, including a Jazz Café, where students can view Liston performing with Dizzy Gillespie's band. Pair this book with Jonah Winter's Dizzy (Scholastic, 2006) and Marilyn Nelson's Sweethearts of Rhythm (Dial, 2009) to explore more fully the jazz culture of the time. A celebration of the talent and success of a little-known African American female musician, this title will enrich library collections.—Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.