Released Summer 2023
ALLENTOWN, PA – Blue Heron Book Works is proud to announce the launch of G. Bruce Boyer’s 9th book, RIFFS: Random Reflections on Jazz, Blues and Early Rock.
In 1938, 30 years before the civil rights movement, Benny Goodman, the legendary White jazz clarinetist, brought on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City a jazz orchestra that included pianists Teddy Wilson and Count Basie, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, saxophonist Lester Young, and half a dozen other Black musicians. This outrage to the acceptable that demolished segregation, if only for one night, was the starting point of a phenomenon that could never be undone by legislation because it was caused entirely by music.
Taking a slight detour from men’s fashion, for which he is internationally renowned, Mr. Boyer dives into his rich memory bank and takes us on his youthful journey discovering jazz, blues and early rock. We all know the liner notes on famous musicians, like Sinatra, Nina Simone, Lionel Hampton, Chet Baker, but what’s been missing is a first-person account of the spine-tingling thrill of hearing these greats on a car radio for the first time. More than that, Mr. Boyer’s narrative adroitly weaves music and fashion and reveals the style that marries them together.
“At a time when it’s said that we live in the shadows of greatness, Riffs is a masterful crossroads into the inner workings of jazz, blues and rock & roll. As a musician who knew many of the musical titans the author brings to life and someone who takes pride in the history of music, it is refreshing to have a book that addresses the inner thinking of the musician. Riffs breakdown of much of the discography and lyrics gives insight into the minds of the artists and the poetry of soul that created them. Riffs is a wonderfully readable window into history and a celebration of the lifeblood of the music that has shaped our times and inspired the world.”
- Saxophonist Extraordinaire Barry ‘Bee’ who has played with Prince, Wynton Marsalis, George Benson, Lionel Hampton, Alvin Batiste, Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie & Charnett Moffett.
“About good actors we say, ‘I could watch him/her read a phone book.’ About Boyer I say, ‘I could read Boyer writing about a doughnut.’ Thankfully, he chose to present an era musically, and it all works.”
- John Burton, Ivy Style
“Riffs systematically discusses post-war music through Bruce’s experiences, tastes and observations. Of these, the chapter ‘Jazz Goes to College – Jazz and Ivy Style at Mid-Century’ is a must-read for anyone who loves the Ivy style and jazz. A fascinating book, full of love for music. Bruce, a teacher who always imparts wisdom.”
- Japanese International critic Yoshimi Hasegawa
G. Bruce Boyer has been a noted men’s fashion writer and editor for more than forty years. He was Town & Country Men’s Fashion Editor and has been a frequent contributor to Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, The N Y Times, The New Yorker, Departures, Plaza Uomo [Sweden], Men’s Precious [Japan], The Rake, L’Uomo Vogue [Italy],and numerous other national and international publications. He is the author of 3 books on the history of men’s fashion, two books on the history of fashion in the cinema and a three-volume study of American menswear in the 1930s. He is a contributor and consultant to The Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion and co-authored Gary Cooper: Enduring Style.Recently, he co-curated two exhibitions at the renowned Museum of The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
Bruce is a sought-after guest on national TV and National Public Radio. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with his wife, Pamela Boyer, and their dog, Gracie.
For details on Bruce’s books, go to G. Bruce Boyer’s Amazon Author Page.