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Impulse Records: Impressive Impulses

Donald Harrison

New York’s Blue Note was packed on June 5 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Impulse Records.

The centerpiece of Impulse’s anniversary is The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records (W.W. Norton) by Ashley Kahn, whose previous works focused on individual albums: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and A Love Supreme by John Coltrane. The author traces the Impulse story in a thorough but highly readable narrative sprinkled with reminiscences from Impulse musicians and behind-the-scenes figures. Along the way, Kahn manages to make many telling points about the record industry in general and the marketing of jazz in particular.

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