A Freewheelin’ Time
By Suze Rotolo
Broadway Books, $23
Bob Dylan fans hungry for fresh insights into his Greenwich Village years best look elsewhere than his ex-girlfriend’s new memoir, A Freewheelin’ Time. Though Suze Rotolo, who lived with Dylan and appeared on the cover of his second album, Freewheelin’, offers up some choice morsels—such as Dylan fretting during the Cuban missile crisis and excerpts from his letters, which are funny and tender—she ultimately fails to deliver a full meal. As with most memoirs by people touched by greatness, Rotolo’s story seems overshadowed by the character it cannot fully capture: in this case, Dylan himself.
Madman On A Drum
By David Housewright
St. Martin’s Minotaur, $25
In the fifth installation of David Housewright’s ongoing mystery series, former cop Rushmore McKenzie has every lowlife in the Twin Cities after him. When his best friend’s daughter is kidnapped, he is called on to produce the ransom—and deliver it. McKenzie gets the girl back, but when a $50,000 contract is put on his life, he finds himself dodging bullets. Housewright, who won an Edgar Allan Poe award for his first novel, Penance, in 1996, leaves no corner of the Twin Cities untouched by the ensuing chase. McKenzie’s subtle humor keeps the tension from boiling over, but don’t expect any breaks in the action.
At the risk of sounding somewhere between fairly and significantly pedestrian, let me say this: If you’re not a regular patron of live jazz in the Twin Cities, go. Yes, go hear some jazz. Dress up a little. Order a Manhattan (Maker’s is good). Relax. You’re going to be fine, especially if you take in local legend Irv Williams. Williams has been playing music (tenor sax, primarily) for, yes, 75 years—not living, playing. Short of that, buy Finality, the 88-year-old virtuoso’s latest, a gentle collection of interpretations and Irv’s own works. The melancholy solo “Filling in the Spaces” will coax out the aficionado in you.
Feel Good Ghosts
Cloud Cult’s work might best be referred to as “happy-fun” music. Not just happy, not merely fun, the Minneapolis band’s feel-good anthems and playful lyrics place them in some as-yet-unidentifiable otherworld of song-making. These people are on to something. This eighth recording by the band arrives on the heels of the equally ambitious, though less supernatural, The Meaning of 8. Part offbeat orchestra, part drum circle, the music winds down paths lined with angels and miracles. They’re your friendly neighborhood treehugger-meets-an-electric-circus-act-meets-a-church-choir gone awry.