The Book Shelf


Recently read titles:

1. The Blue Moment: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music by Richard Williams (Apr 12, 2010)

An exceedingly well written book on the place and influence on American music and culture of Miles Davis’s most influential and widely known and owned records. The author places the record with its modal structures and kind of blues as an inflection point from which many types of music, from Philip Glass to James Brown, have drawn inspiration. A second book about this emergence of cool jazz and the cool medium of TV waits to be written.

2. Lectures on the Philosophy of World History (Cambridge Studies in the History and Theory of Politics) by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Hugh Barr Nisbet and Duncan Forbes (Jan 31, 1981)

The world from 100,000 feet is bracing. Hegel may be the first evolutionary philosopher. The end of evolution is the rational nation state. He felt the reverberations of America, and he saw the French revolution march right into Berlin. The Germans were behind on this one, and he pointed the way. People came after him and offered other Omegas. I read him to see how evolutionary individualism could get its start with him. A real 19th century blockbuster, similar to the intention, drive, and lift to the music of his contemporary, Beethoven.

3.  Donald Fagen – 5 of the Best (Piano/Vocal/Guitar Artist Songbook) by Donald Fagen (Jul 1, 2003).

Cheesy songbooks offer hints to the ideas behind the songs. “True Companion” is as cool as cool can be. Mesmerizing sci-fi tune of yesteryear. Patient bright jazz, heavy metal, and Donald Fagen qua the Manhattan Transfer. And four others.

4.  Cool Memories IV, 1995-2000 by Jean Baudrillard and Chris Turner (Jul 3, 2003)

He’s right for all the wrong reasons and wrong for all the right reasons. Exasperating professionals, his work is too piquant and provocative to put down. 

For the financially minded:

In the end, the Disney Company will no longer even need to buy up companies or invest. Districts, towns, and entire populations will ask to be attached to Disney Unlimited, will themselves request entry to the Fourth Dimension.


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