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September in the Rain

Another book I would like to recommend is called ‘September in the Rain’ The Life of Nelson Riddle.

Those of us of a certain age group will be familiar with the arranging skills of Nelson Riddle. He almost single-handedly saved Frank Sinatra’s career in the mid 1950’s and also contributed hugely to the careers of Nat King Cole, Ella FitzGerald, Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis and in more recent years, Linda Ronstadt and Kiri te Kanawa, but he is probably best remembered for his work with Frank Sinatra.

He also wrote and arranged music for films and TV and also made a large number of orchestral albums and also wrote, what is, in my opinion, one of the best arranging manuals ever written.

The book is written by Peter Levinson and, as you might expect, tells the story of Nelson Riddle’s life from his early childhood, through to his untimely passing. It’s a book very much filled with a considerable amount of pathos because, for all the tremendous success he had over the years, he led, in some respects, a very unhappy life. I found myself being quite moved by the book in places, because it is very much a case of a man having everything, yet nothing.

Anyway, I would certainly recommend the book as a document of a certain period of history. There is a lot of comment in there by fellow percussionists such as Emile Richards and it is a very good read.

Published by Taylor Trade Publishing, who are part of the Bowman and Littlefield Publishing Group of Lanham, Maryland, USA.
ISBN number: 1-58979-163-0

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