Wildman of Rhythm:
The Life and Music of Benny Moré

John Radanovich

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Paper: $22.50
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Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence


"This new book about ‘El Bárbaro del Ritmo’ celebrates the life and music of one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century."--Grammy award-winning musician Paquito D'Rivera

"Anybody with hot blood in their veins who has ever found Cuban music irresistible, and who believes that jungle-crazy mambo is the real thing, will feel indebted to John Radanovich’s fascinating chronicle of Benny Moré’s life. Wildman of Rhythm is more than a biography--it’s a huge window into one of the richest, most creative cultures on earth."--Bob Shacochis, National Book Award finalist for Swimming in the Volcano

"An important and highly entertaining book that tells the story of the great and troubled Cuban singer Benny More. Helps roll back the curtain that often comes between American audiences and their appreciation of the great musical cultures to the south."--Sam Charters, author of A Language of Song: Journeys into the Musical World of the African Diaspora

"An informative and compelling chronicle on the life of Cuba's most dazzling singer, Benny More, tidily strung together as a series of small bright story-jewels."--Ann Louise Bardach, author of Cuba Confidential

Benny More (1919-1963) was one of the giants at the center of the golden age of Cuban music. Arguably the greatest singer ever to come from the island, his name is still spoken with reverence and nostalgia by Cubans and Cuban exiles alike.

Unable to read music, he nevertheless wrote more than a dozen Cuban standards. His band helped shape what came to be known as the Afro-Cuban sound and, later, salsa. More epitomized the Cuban big-band era and was one of the most important precursors to the music later featured in the Buena Vista Social Club. Even now, to hear his recordings for the first time, it is impossible not to be thrilled and amazed.

Journalist John Radanovich has spent years tracking down the musicians who knew More and More family members, seeking out rare recordings and little-known photographs. Radanovich provides the definitive biography of the man and his music, whose legacy was forgotten in the larger scheme of political difficulties between the United States and Cuba. Even the exact spelling of More's first name was unknown until now. The author also examines the milieu of Cuban music in the 1950s, when Havana was the playground of Hollywood stars and the Mafia ran the nightclubs and casinos.

John Radanovich has written for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, DownBeat, Jazziz, and Offbeat. He lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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Awards
Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence - 2010

"The story of one man's rise from poverty to musical icon is amazing. The tale of the life in pre-revolution Cuba is fascinating." 410 Media

"A must for any biography collection focusing on the history of music." The Midwest Book Review

"If you're at all interested in the sounds that echo around you, day-in and day-out, as you make your way around Miami, this little volume makes for a very handy companion. It's also quite an enjoyable look back at a legend. And if one thing doesn't get you; the other will." Miami Sun Post

"Radanovich has explained music in the western hemisphere beautifully. Benny More's life is the prism though which all music history must pass now. He is the missing link to the past, a giant of a figure alive and well again, at last." Jazz Times

"We must express our gratitude to Radanovich for spending several years to locate and interrogate the surviving family members and musicians involved in the Wildman of Rhythm's saga, while seeking out rare recordings and little-known photographs in order to tell the story (for the first time in the language of Shakespeare) of the one and only Benny More." Latin Beat Magazine

John Radanovich offers this definitive biography of Moré, informed by interviews with family members and musicians who performed with him, along with background on the Cuban music scene of the 1950s.-- Cuban Art News

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