CD Chano y Dizzy! In the tradition of Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie (after whom the album is named), Los Angeles’ Poncho Sanchez teams up with the Big Easy’s Terence Blanchard to give new life to the tradition of Afro-Cuban jazz that began in the 1930s and ’40s. This isn’t your daddy’s “Cubop” – at times more frenetic, at others much silkier, Sanchez and Blanchard keep Dizzy, Chano and Mario Bauzá’s spirits alive.
NON-FICTION Told through the work and words of a pastor and a social worker in the small town of Clover, S.C., Andrew J. Skerritt’s Ashamed to Die: Silence, Denial and the AIDS Epidemic in the South tells the story of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the rural South. Circumscribed by poverty, misunderstanding and other hardships, Skerritt’s subjects live, suffer and die amid cultural taboos that forbid them from discussing the very disease that plagues them.
COOKBOOK Stephanie Pierson’s The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes belies the conceit with which brisket chefs proclaim their methods’ superiority. Accompanied by raw but appetizing photographs by Roger Sherman, Pierson discusses the entire spectrum of brisket preparations – braising, dry and wet barbecue, even corned beef – and also tackles the issue of what to serve with brisket in its various permutations, from side dishes to wine (or beer, or cocktail) pairings.
NOVEL Self-proclaimed “Quarter rat” and New Orleans Magazine Person to Watch (2011) James Nolan spins a yarn of murder, manipulation, betrayal, redemption and transvestites – and one septuagenarian drug dealer – in Higher Ground. When Nicole Naquin’s brother Marky is gunned down, their mother, Miss Gertie, embarks on a private investigation with her tenant Gary Cherry; together, the duo circumnavigates crooked cops and politicians, incarceration, a murderous cult, family interventions and a storm-ravaged city still trying to hold itself together.