The Jazzmen | Mechanics' Institute

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The Jazzmen
with acclaimed author Larry Tye and Dr. Michael Krasny

Join Larry Tye, the New York Times bestselling author of Satchel and Bobby Kennedy, in conversation with acclaimed interviewer and radio host Dr. Michael Krasny on Tye's new book, The Jazzmen. The Jazzmen is a sweeping and spellbinding portrait of the longtime kings of jazz—Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie—who, born within a few years of one another, overcame racist exclusion and violence to become the most popular entertainers on the planet.

What is lesser known about these groundbreakers is that they were bound not just by their music or even the discrimination that they, like nearly all Black performers of their day, routinely encountered. Each defied and ultimately overcame racial boundaries by opening America’s eyes and souls to the magnificence of their music. In the process they wrote the soundtrack for the civil rights movement.

Based on more than 250 interviews, this exhaustively researched book brings alive the history of Black America in the early-to-mid 1900s through the singular lens of the country’s most gifted, engaging, and enduring African-American musicians.



Larry Tye is the New York Times bestselling author of The Father of Spin, Home Lands, Rising from the Rails, Satchel, Superman, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, and Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy. In addition to his writing, Tye runs the Health Coverage Fellowship, which helps the media do a better job reporting on critical issues like pandemics, mental health, and high-tech medicine. From 1986 to 2001, Tye was an award-winning reporter at The Boston Globe, where his primary beat was medicine. He also served as the Globe’s environmental reporter, roving national writer, investigative reporter, and sports writer. Tye is currently writing, for HarperCollins, a book entitled, The Forger of Paris: Adolfo Kaminsky and Jewish Resistance to the Holocaust.



Dr. Michael Krasny, PhD was the host of the award winning KQED Forum, a program discussing news and public affairs, current events, culture, health, business and technology. He has interviewed a wide range of major political and cultural figures. He is also a veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures series. Focus Magazine named him Best Bay Area Talk Show Host, and he was selected Best Talk Host and Best Interviewer by the editorial staff of San Francisco Weekly, as well as in their annual reader’s poll.

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