Aaron Cohen celebrates his new book about Aretha's "Amazing Grace" | Bleader

Aaron Cohen celebrates his new book about Aretha's "Amazing Grace"


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This Sunday, October 16, author Aaron Cohen (associate editor of DownBeat and a regular contributor to the Tribune) celebrates the publication of his new book Amazing Grace (Continuum) with an afternoon event at the Chicago Cultural Center. The book is part of Continuum’s popular 33 1/3 series and explores the making of Aretha Franklin’s double platinum 1972 gospel album Amazing Grace—the best-selling gospel record in history. The concise book examines Franklin’s deep church roots and how the live session—cut in a Los Angeles church with James Cleveland’s choir—came together.

Cohen breaks down each of the songs (including their genesis, meaning, and previous recordings), discusses and interviews most of the musicians that played on the record (including Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and Cornell Dupree), and contextualizes the album both within Franklin’s career and recorded gospel music. On Sunday Cohen will facilitate a roundtable discussion of the album with gospel legend Inez Andrews (a key member of the Caravans and the person credited on Franklin’s album with writing “Mary, Don’t You Weep") along with Donna and Gregory Gay (niece and nephew of Chicago’s Gay Sisters). A short multimedia presentation on the album will also be screened. On Thursday, October 20, Cohen will spin music by Franklin, her sisters Carolyn and Erma, along with other great female soul singers at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar. Both events are free.

Today’s playlist:

Various artists, Angola Soundtrack: The Unique Sound of Luanda 1965-1976 (Analog Africa)
John Butcher and Claudia Ulla Binder, Under the Roof (Nuscope)
Group Doueh, Beatte Harab (Sublime Frequencies)
Frank Kimbrough, Rumors (Palmetto)
Various artists, The Sound of Siam: Leftfield Luk Thung, Jazz & Molam in Thailand 1964-1975 (Soundway)

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