Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024 6:00p -

Congregation Kehillath Israel
384 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446

EventScheduled OfflineEventAttendanceMode


Hosted by:
adamkrasnoff Adam Krasnoff

History, Lectures & Conferences, Music

Talk with author Larry Tye about his new book THE JAZZMEN: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Count Basie Transformed America


From the New York Times bestselling author of Satchel and Bobby Kennedy, a sweeping and spellbinding portrait of the longtime kings of jazz—Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie—who, born within a few years of one another, overcame racist exclusion and violence to become the most popular entertainers on the planet.

This is the story of three revolutionary American musicians, the maestro jazzmen who orchestrated the chords that throb at the soul of twentieth-century America.

Duke Ellington, the grandson of slaves who was christened Edward Kennedy Ellington, was a man whose story is as layered and nuanced as his name suggests and whose music transcended category.

Louis Daniel Armstrong was born in a New Orleans slum so tough it was called The Battlefield and, at age seven, got his first musical instrument, a ten-cent tin horn that drew buyers to his rag-peddling wagon and set him on the road to elevating jazz into a pulsating force for spontaneity and freedom.

William James Basie, too, grew up in a world unfamiliar to white fans—the son of a coachman and laundress who dreamed of escaping every time the traveling carnival swept into town, and who finally engineered his getaway with help from Fats Waller.

What is far less known about these groundbreakers is that they were bound not just by their music or even the discrimination that they, like nearly all Black performers of their day, routinely encountered. Each defied and ultimately overcame racial boundaries by opening America’s eyes and souls to the magnificence of their music. In the process they wrote the soundtrack for the civil rights movement.

Based on more than 250 interviews, this exhaustively researched book brings alive the history of Black America in the early-to-mid 1900s through the singular lens of the country’s most gifted, engaging, and enduring African-American musicians.


Larry Tye is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent book is Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy.

Tye’s first book, The Father of Spin, is a biography of public relations pioneer Edward L. Bernays. Home Lands looks at the Jewish renewal underway from Boston to Buenos Aires. Rising from the Rails explores how the black men who worked on George Pullman’s railroad sleeping cars helped kick-start the Civil Rights movement and gave birth to today’s African-American middle class. Shock, a collaboration with Kitty Dukakis, is a journalist’s first-person account of ECT, psychiatry’s most controversial treatment, and a portrait of how that therapy helped one woman overcome debilitating depression. Satchel is the biography of two American icons – Satchel Paige and Jim Crow. Superman tells the nearly-real life story of the most enduring American hero of the last century. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon explores RFK’s amazing transformation from cold warrior to fiery leftist.

Tye’s previous book, Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy, was released in 2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

In addition to his writing, Tye runs the Boston-based Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media do a better job reporting on critical issues like public health and pandemics, mental health and the health impacts of climate change, and racial, ethnic and gender disparities in health care. Launched in 2001 and supported by a series of foundations, the fellowship trains a dozen medical journalists a year from newspapers, radio stations, and TV outlets nationwide.

From 1986 to 2001, Tye was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. Before that, he was the environmental reporter at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, and covered government and business at The Anniston Star in Alabama.

Tye, who graduated from Brown University, was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1993-94. He taught journalism at Boston University, Northeastern, and Tufts.

Tye is now writing, for HarperCollins, The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Satchmo Armstrong and Count Basie Transformed America.

Share this event

Add to:

06/19/2024 18:00:00 06/19/2024 19:00:00 America/New_York Talk With Author Larry Tye at Congregation Kehillath Israel <p>Talk with author Larry Tye about his new book THE JAZZMEN: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Count Basie Transformed America</p><p><br></p><p>ABOUT "THE JAZZMEN"</p><p><br></p><p>From the ... Congregation Kehillath Israel, Brookline, MA 02446 false MM/DD/YYYY

Sponsored events