My January Wall Street Journal Cultural Conversation with Don Was, president of Blue Note Records, began with a sincere tip of the hat—via onstage hat-tips from pianist Jason Moran and Robert Glasper—to Bruce Lundvall, who ran that company for 25 years and who continues to provide guidance as chairman emeritus.
Lundvall’s story is a great one, about a singular man, maybe the last of his breed of music executive, whose work spanned a few important eras at a few major record labels, companies that also may be the last of their breeds.
In a July post, I interviewed writer Dan Ouellette, who was then working on “Playing by Ear,” a book documenting Lundvall’s half-century career.
Now that book is available. You can find it at Amazon, or by going to the ArtistShare page.
As he did with a previous biography of bassist Ron Carter, Ouellette pursued an interesting path, developing this book through the fan-funded Artistshare website. Besides forgoing a traditional publisher and offering readers various forms of participation in the process, Ouellette worked in a nontraditional biography form, he says, inserting “snapshot” chapters within the narrative of Lundvall’s life story. “A reader can choose to read the entire story on Bruce’s Elektra experience,” he says, “or choose to read the focused sections on Bobby McFerrin or Whitney Houston or Ruben Blades. This whole setup offers the reader options. Most people read a book cover to cover without skipping around. This format allows people to skip around at their leisure, kind of like someone listening to a CD and selecting different tracks to play versus the entire album.”
Here’s a brief excerpt, courtesy of the author: Continue reading “Bruce Lundvall On Playing By Ear”