Raise Up Off Me
Hampton Hawes [1928–1977] was one of jazz's greatest pianists. Among his peers from California the self-taught Hawes was second only to Oscar Peterson. At the time of his celebration as New Star of the Year by downbeat magazine (1956), Hawes was already struggling with a heroin addiction that would lead…
Why read it?
2 authors picked Raise Up Off Me as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
Pianist Hawes is an under-sung master of the early bebop period. This supremely readable narrative tells the story of how he met and played with Charlie Parker already in his teen years, painting a picture of how jazz musicians lived in the heyday of the bebop revolution. A fun and informative book.
I’d pair this painfully honest book by an important jazz artist who, like far too many of his peers, happened to be a heroin addict — and also like far too many, died too early — with a similar work, Straight Life, by the saxophonist Art Pepper and his wife, Laurie Pepper; both men did prison time for drug-related offences. Like Miles, Hawes comes alive on the page — but in a kinder and more philosophical way. His addiction is only part of who he is: “Everything you do is important and connected with everything else whether you’re…
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