Reviews, interviews, excerpts
Violinist Regina Carter in 2004. (Photo by Susan Tusa/Detroit Free Press)
Violinist Regina Carter in 2004. (Photo by Susan Tusa/Detroit Free Press)
“He has a good reporter’s eye and a good critic’s ear for the telling detail and the particulars of a musician’s art.” — Kevin Whitehead, NPR’s “Fresh Air,” July 2019. Full review here.
“Comprehensive, musically literate, striking in its depth, and essential.” — Peter Vacher, Jazzwise, August 2019. Read the whole review here.
“Though Detroit is known for its legendary Motown music, former Detroit Free Press journalist Stryker’s exceptional book shows in swinging detail why the city was also a major focal point for jazz. Stryker outlines the various forces that created the conditions that spawned so many influential artists.” — Publishers Weekly, July 2019. Read the whole review here.
“Mark Stryker has chronicled the musical culture of Detroit for many years, and in this exemplary cultural history, he makes the case that jazz would be unimaginable without the city’s influence. Along with 26 glowing profiles — of artists ranging from Yusef Lateef to Sheila Jordan to Geri Allen — the book illuminates a complex cultural backdrop, showing how the rise and fall (and ongoing transition) of a great American industrial city produced reverberations still felt in our music.” — Nate Chinen, WBGO, November 2019. Read Nate’s entire holiday gift guide here.
“Stryker deftly captures the personalities of the musicians he interviews, and he broadens his portraits by speaking to friends, family members and colleagues. … Throughout the book, he demonstrates that Detroit’s jazz traditions run deeper than any particular sound. His book is not only a celebration of exceptional individuals, but also a testament to the importance of community and learning.” — Stewart Smith, The Wire, June 2019 (Print only)
“Jazz from Detroit flows with memorable in-person color, deep research and musical descriptions that feel at once technically adept and elegant — evidence, no doubt, of the author’s own saxophone training and a lifetime of thoughtful listening.” — Evan Haga, Tidal, August 31, 2019, Read the whoe review here.
“Detroit’s contribution to American music has been monumental, but its rich jazz legacy has not been as fully documented as its role in shaping R&B and rock. Journalist Mark Stryker’s Jazz From Detroit address that imbalance through vivid profiles of more than two dozen artists who have called the city home. At the same time, he offers crucial information on how Detroit has nurtured its musicians through both prosperous and difficult times.” — Aaron Cohen, Downbeat, September 2019. Read the whole review here.
“This is a really interesting book. Once you read it, you’re guaranteed to wind up chasing down dozens of records.” — Phil Freeman, Stereogum, June 2019. Read the whole review here.
“Stryker’s reporting chops have allowed him to draw detailed portraits of fascinating people, and while he is clearly an admirer of jazz artistry, he does not turn away from mentioning or discussing the human foibles of a few of his subjects. Assessments of recordings dot Jazz From Detroit and they too are spot-on …” — Peter Hum, Ottawa Citizen, August 31, 2019. Read the whole review here.
“Just finished Mark Stryker’s ’s inspiring, highly readable Jazz From Detroit. An account of a local scene, across generations, that played a crucial role in the larger jazz story. For me, Jazz From Detroit contextualized longtime faves from Joe Henderson to Elvin Jones and Gerald Cleaver, and sparked curiosity re: Charles McPherson, Geri Allen, Marcus Belgrave and many more. Overall, (it) felt like I was reading the book that the author in question was born to write, which is always a thrill. Don’t miss this one!” — Hank Shteamer, July 22, 2019, Twitter posting from Rolling Stone senior music editor.
Stryker provides crisp, eight to ten-page sketches of each musician, with extensive reliance on personal interviews with scores of jazz luminaries. Documenting not only each figure’s musical trajectory but also their relationship to the city, Stryker stresses throughout the book the community spirit that has nurtured Detroit’s jazz scene from the beginning, ,,, What gives the book a lot of its sparkle is Stryker’s intimate knowledge of jazz: the music’s distinctive traits are captured wonderfully with writing that carries the same melodic fervor and rhythmic punch of a fine jazz solo. — Troy Dostert, All About Jazz, Sept. 19, 2019. Read the whole review here.
“Mark Stryker makes musical history come alive in this book. If you’re curious about that history, its roots and musicians, plus its implications for the future, look no further than “Jazz in Detroit” — the book is necessary reading! — Richard Kamins, Step Tempest, July 3, 2019. Read the whole review here.
“Stryker outlines this picture directly through introductions to different eras in the city’s jazz history, and indirectly through the succinct critical musical biographies, he writes on the city’s most notable musicians, from Kenny Burrell to Gerald Wilson. There is bittersweet nostalgia in reading all of these, that there was an era in which this country could sustain both a consumer economy and an art economy.” — George Grella, The Brooklyn Rail, July/August 2019. Read the whole review here.
French language review by David Cristol from Jazz (Sept. 2019). Print only. Click here to download PDF
German language review by Von Jan Kobrzinowski from Jazzthetik (Dec. 2019). Print only. Click here to download PDF.
New York Times: “This year Mr. Stryker published Jazz From Detroit, the first book-length survey of Detroit’s formidable — though often overlooked — jazz history.” — Giovanni Russonello, The Enduring Power of the Detroit Jazz Collective Tribe, November 26, 2019.
Do The Math: Ethan Iverson conducted a long interview with me about growing up with jazz and classical music, my career as an arts reporter and critic, and many other topics, including jazz scholarship, African American culture and Jazz from Detroit. Part 1 of our talk is here. (July 2019). Part 2 of our talk, focused of saxophone players, is here.
“After nearly two decades as an arts journalist for the Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker has stretched into the long-playing format, much like his jazz idol, saxophonist Sonny Rollins, to tell an epic tale.” — Lawrence Cosentino, Lansing City Pulse, August 29, 2019. Read the whole article here.
“One of the most rewarding books I’ve read this year, and certainly a surefire nominee for the annual Jazz Journalist Association award for best book has to be Mark Stryker’s Jazz From Detroit. — Willard Jenkins, Open Sky Jazz, September 2019. Read the interview here.
Detroit Jazz City: Mark Stryker’s New Book Examines Detroit’s Long Love Affair With Jazz — Bob Weinberg, JAZZIZ Magazine, July 2019 (Subscription required).
When Jazz was King -- Michael Hodges, Detroit News, July 5, 2019
‘Giants Of American Culture:’ Book Explores Detroit’s ‘Profound Influence On Jazz — Alan Stamm, Deadline Detroit, July 7, 2019
Modern Drummer: Elvin Jones — Philosopher King
Jazz Times: Kenny Burrell: From Detroit with Love
Detroit Free Press: Opening Chorus to ‘The Golden Age’
“Jazz from Detroit is a masterpiece—one of the most insightful books about this music ever written. Mark Stryker’s perceptive commentary will resonate with both aficionados and newcomers to jazz.” —Ethan Iverson
“With a smooth and deeply informed style Mark Stryker in Jazz from Detroit writes authoritatively about the city’s almost matchless contribution to the history of jazz. His profiles of some of the iconic figures in jazz are so insightfully drawn, so musical that you are tempted to stop reading and listen to their recordings.” —Herb Boyd, author of Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination
“No city has meant more to American musical culture than Detroit. In the bass register alone, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter and James Jamerson provided the foundation for the sum of the greatest music of the 20th century, and we can continue to climb the entire frequency range to find the same deep and detailed descriptions of American life at its very best through the ideas and voices of iconic Detroit musicians. Deeply researched and expertly rendered, Mark Stryker’s Jazz from Detroit has provided a diligent and insightful window into every aspect of how Detroit came to be one of the major centers of modern American musical research. This is an important and highly entertaining document that will stand as a definitive testament to the musical culture of Detroit.” — Pat Metheny