One of the most highly respected horn and bass players in jazz, Willie Ruff has put together a remarkable autobiography. It comes alive with feeling, and there is a sense of sharing that Willie Ruff gives the reading audience which makes the book enjoyable reading.
The book contains many photographs. Some years ago, when this fine book was originally published, it was the recipient of ASCAPs Deems Taylor Award. It is good to have the book once again in print with its amazing stories. For example there is the meeting with W. C. Handy that is excellent sociological history in which Handy played his famous "St. Louis Blues" on trumpet and spoke to the children around him about "the music of the Negro Race."
Well-constructed the book has five parts to it and each part has many chapters. Part One "Home" is Ruff's early years. One of most interesting chapters in "My Disagreement with the Divinity" and also "Chitlin Struts" "A Staggering Discovery" and "Home to Die." Part Two "Army "New Haven" continues Ruff's journey and concludes with the chapter "Falling in Love." Part Four "Performing" will fascinate readers interested in the nuts & bolts of living on the road performing as will Part Five "International Relations" which contains the chapters "Toward the Harmony of the World" and "Playing on Holy Ground." A summing up in the form of an epilogue "Coming Full Circle" concludes the book.
The reader will not be disappointed in this fine autobiography. The memoric scenes ring true and accurate and there is always this remarkable Willie Ruff observing living and sharing his journey in jazz.
Excellent reading for all readers of jazz writing! Willie Ruff is one of the great jazz French horn performers.
A noted writer Ruff also is the founding director of the Duke Ellington Fellowship Program at Yale University and a faculty member at the Yale School of Music since 1971 where he teaches courses on Ethnomusicology (an important branch of the science of Anthropology) and other courses in music.'Back in print again after many years, it is a pleasure to have A CALL TO ASSEMBLY available. It is jazz musician Willie Ruffs story and is an inspiring autobiography.'