Embouchure by Kevin McneillyEmbouchure by Kevin Mcneilly


byKevin Mcneilly

Paperback | April 20, 2011

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Kevin McNeilly's debut poetry collection, Embouchure, compiles the intertwined lineages of trumpet players who came to prominence in the States during the "pre-bop" era, loosely defined as the period between 1890 and 1939. This series of vignettes betrays a broad and detailed knowledge of the players' lives and work, yet reads like a collection of conversational anecdotes shared between the musicians and those around them. Rather than focusing on the solid facts of their lives, McNeilly brings to life the characters they inhabited and stories that surrounded them, all in a vibrant, slangy dialect that adeptly reproduces the feel of the period.

Within the course of Embouchure's thirty-seven portraits, Buddy, Satch, Bix, Jabbo, Cootie, Cat and the rest are resurrected in their smoky, brassy, sepia-toned glory as figures deeply steeped in their own mythos. Despite embracing the fictional aspects of their lives, however, McNeilly styles these remarkable men and women with pure love and admiration, not only for their shared history and contribution to the evolution of jazz, but also for the pure, loud, messy beauty of the music itself. In this stunning and highly readable debut, McNeilly boasts finely honed poetic chops, proving that heart remains the first and finest ingredient in any truly virtuosic solo.
Kevin McNeilly lives in Vancouver, where he teaches English at the University of British Columbia. In addition to his academic publications, he has had poems published in Canadian Literature and The Antigonish Review.
Title:EmbouchureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:96 pages, 8 × 5.5 × 0.25 inPublished:April 20, 2011Publisher:Nightwood EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889712581

ISBN - 13:9780889712584

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Editorial Reviews

McNeilly's poetic portrayals do not preclude ending; rather, much like Amiri Baraka's notion of the changing same, they suggest new possibilities for substantial relistenings. As every note has its own shape, its own mouth, so too does every musician in this collection. Embouchure is about getting into the grooves of history (you find a groove) in order to respond to the present.

--Paul Watkins, Canadian Literature