Summer Book Bag 2022 (Curated by A. Scott Galloway & David Mitchell)

THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF JASON MILES: A MUSICAL BIOGRAPHY (Jason Miles)

You may not know the name Jason Miles, but you have certainly heard his otherworldly masterstrokes of keyboard and synthesizer programming for an awe-inspiring resumè of artists including Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, Roberta Flack, Marcus Miller, Chaka Khan, and many more. He has been in the room for the creation of some of the very best in music over the last 40 years. Thankfully, he has a memory like a steel trap and shares his career and life journeys with vivid and engrossing elan in thisriveting insider’s read. We’re not just talking studio sessions but personal hangs, road trips, international travels, live gigs, maintaining a loving marriage and more – both from when Miles was
at the service of others and when he was leading his own ensembles such as Global Noize and a tribute to Grover Washington, Jr. Miles respects the people he has worked with immensely but does not hold back when it comes to bad behavior, unprofessionalism or ill-preparedness. This is the kind of read that music lovers live for – one that makes you feel as if you are in the room as great ones practice their craft then unwind afterwards. Of course, Miles also gets technical about synthesizers and programming for musicians so inclined, but it never gets bogged down with all of that at the expense of killing the flow and vibe. Complete with a foreword by Marcus Miller, Jason Miles’ book is a must read for anyone seeking a bird’s eye view of historical record making.

IT WAS ALL A DREAM: BIGGIE AND THE WORLD THAT MADE HIM Justin Tinsley (Abrams Press)

This is truly an intelligent, thoroughly researched piece that is not just about Christopher Wallace, a.k.a. Hip-Hop legend “The Notorious B.I.G.,” but a no holds barred account of Brooklyn and the family that made him who he was just becoming before he was senselessly murdered in a hail of bullets shortly after departing a party in Los Angeles.
Author Justin Tinsley does a great job of melding the perspectives of many concerning Wallace as well as providing a strong voice for his main character. Sourcing personal interviews, hours of video footage and tons of press covering Biggie” while he was alive and after, he gives readers a 360 degree look at a troubled lyrical and flowing genius, yes – but also a hard-working and purposed young man. All of the expected players are represented; mother Voletta Wallace, Tupac “2pac” Shakur, Lil’ Kim, Faith Evans, Sean Combs, Lance “Un’ River, Ma$e and more. Fans of Biggie and Rap lore will definitely tuck into all of this but is also a fascinating and enriching profile for anyone interested in stories of people who achieve greatness even when the deck is so staggeringly stacked against them.

LIKE…THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD CHAKA KHAN! David Nathan (Street Angels Books)

In the world of Black Music, London-born David Nathan is known as The British Ambassador of Soul,” a moniker he earned early in life as a record store clerk, as the president of European fan clubs for Nina Simone and Esther Phillips, as a globe-trotting music journalist for Blues & Soul, Billboard and other magazines, as a media trainer to the stars and as the proprietor of a series of boutique classic CD reissue companies, most currently SoulMusic.com. Nathan channels his love and respect for the great artists he has encountered, covered and coveted in this intimate treat of a poetry book. Openly gay since
1967, Nathan enjoyed unique inner circle relationships with many artists, and he is quite candid about how their lives, stories and music moved him. And each poem is followed by personal editorial about the artist that inspired it. The poems have often long and winding titles such as “Stay Free (Thank You Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson),” “Nona (Hendryx) Sweats…Me? I Smoulder… (I Got Ways to Make You, Pt. 2)” and “Pink Skin Mask…Or Teena Marie in a Man’s Body…And Thank You Aretha Franklin…RESPECT.” And through each poem, many song titles and references to lyrics abound as Nathan squeezes every ripe, plump fruit for all of its soulful flowing nectar. Poetry as a form of expression is very tied to the cadences one hears in their head as they read it and is very vulnerable to one’s personal taste. Here, Nathan’s passion for the subjects leaves no doubt that he is a Soul whose literary intentions are not just good but “Alright, now!”

A GOLDEN PAST AND A PLATINUM FUTURE Teddy Astin (Tough Act Publising)

Teddy Astin is a renowned Black Music promotions executive who worked for Warner Bros. Records in the heyday years of the `70s through the `90s before creating a real estate consultant company to assist ordinary people in achieving extraordinary goals in the homes of their dreams. His book is eye-popping and singular – part scrapbook, career journal, biography and inspirational tome. Astin meticulously held onto the ephemera and artifacts of a music biz career in which he was rewarded numerous times for his creative efforts. However, it was his encounters with greats of the times that are clearly most cherished. I must say, though, that Astin takes the high road in just about all of his recollections…so don’t come looking for any juiciness. For a man who worked with upstarts such as Sly Stone, George Clinton, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, Prince, Bob Marley and Miles Davis, his reflections are all astringently clean. Personally, I loved the stories about some of his clever promotion ideas, especially for Patti Austin and Joe Sample. It’s rare that a Black Music executive creates an opportunity to share such a vivid overview of what the business was like. Astin tells his story with tidbits about those who crossed his path in a straightforward way that should be especially insightful for up and comers considering getting into the music business today.

THE ART OF WAR FOR CREATIVES Charyn Harris (HarrisxChange, LLC)

Oftentimes, when it comes to achieving one’s goals, a meticulous plan of action is called for – one that is rigid enough to instill discipline yet flexible enough to enable one to dodge sneak attacks, unrelenting adversaries, one’s own Achilles heel and the dreaded shrouds of doubt. Charyn Harris, a musician, nonprofit arts education specialist and music industry manager/tour manager, has poured her skills and experience as an author, speaker and teaching artist into this dynamic self-help book that in turn inspires creatives to leverage their special skills to create a winning. career blueprint. Chapters such as “The Illusion of Luck,” “What is Your ‘Why” and “The Art of Understanding Yourself” truly empower the reader, chock full of sage advice, strategies, reinforcing bullet points and verbiage that encourages like only a mother can. Pair that loving energy with insights gleaned from the strategic principles of Sun Tzu, creator of the time-tested manifesto “The Art of War,” and you have the essence of Harris’ approach which should surely be of great assistance to all.

SINGER-SONGWRITER STEPS INTO THE LITERARY WORLD WITH NEW BOOK (Donald “DeP” Paige)

LA based and Texas native Award-winning Singer Songwriter takes his talents to the literary world in the form of his first book “Fallback to Step Up: Sometimes You Have to Sing to Yourself” by Author Donald “DeP” Paige. This book is part memoir, part self-help where he challenges you to fallback. From destructive habits like putting yourself last, taking on other peoples’ nonsense, being petty, apologizing for being yourself, and the ageless trap of needing acceptance. You can use the tips given here in the book to step up your mindfulness and actions. DeP says, “As I toured and engaged many different people around the world, I realized we all have been infused with the programmable impact of societal influence, restrictive religious programming, and antiquated parent parental guidance. Despite our demographics, career paths, and geographical locations these embedded principles have been have prevented us from being happy peaceful and stressful. These are 30 of the most recurring issues I’ve encountered.” Released on Juneteenth, you can order the book by using the form on his website, www.thinkdep.com