Steven Botek – Song on my Lips: Jazz Greats were My Mentors

Steven Botek
Song on my Lips: Jazz Greats were My Mentors
Granville Island Publishing – 2008

Song on My Lips: Jazz Greats were My Mentors portrays jazz legends Buddy DeFranco, Joe Allard and others who mentored author and musician Steven Botek, offering a rare and personal glimpse into the heart and soul of the mid-Twentieth century American music scene.

Song on My Lips is an inspiring new book about ajazz musician coming of age in New York and his personal relationships with numerous jazz legends. Reflecting on the popular music of the 1940s and 1950s, this new book features detailed biographies and photographs of legendary musicians including George Gershwin, Glenn Gould and Dizzy Gillespie. The foreword is written by the author’s mentor, NEA Jazz Legend Award winner Buddy DeFranco.

Born in the same Pennsylvania coal-mining town as Tommy Dorsey, author Stephen Botek’s journey in jazz takes him through the heights of the swing era and the birth of bebop, and leads him into dialogues with icons Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman and others. Falling in love with the early strains of swing, Botek began to garner a reputation for his skill on clarinet as a teenager and, seeing his chance, jumps into the world of jazz with both feet.

Traveling regularly to study in New York, he learns under pioneer bebop clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, saxophone legend Joe Allard, and Gustave Langenus, the author of clarinet exercise books that became the standard. He shares additional remembrances of the greats including Gene Krupa, Charlie Shavers, Tommy Dorsey, Maynard Ferguson, Red Rodney, Boyd Raeburn, Illinois Jacquet, and Charlie Parker.

After attending the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, Botek began a career as a professional musician. The Korean War intervened and he ultimately joined the United States Air Force Band and toured the world.

Botek currently resides in Manhattan and works as a psychiatrist, dividing his practice between New York City and rural Pennsylvania.

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