[Dixielandjazz] Leslie Gourse Obit

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 5 08:50:57 PST 2005

Note the first book she wrote: "Louis' Children; American Jazz Singers."

Steve Barbone

January 5, 2005 - NY TIMES

Leslie Gourse, 65, Biographer of Jazz Artists, Dies
Leslie Gourse, a prolific author best known for her biographies of a wide
range of jazz musicians and singers, died on Dec. 23 at her home in
Manhattan. She was 65.

The cause was respiratory problems, said her cousin Melvin Zurier.

The author or editor of more than 30 books, Ms. Gourse devoted most of her
writing to profiles of jazz virtuosos, starting in 1984 with "Louis'
Children: American Jazz Singers," a collection of biographical sketches.

Her most notable full-length biographies included "Unforgettable: The Life
and Mystique of Nat King Cole" (1991), "Sassy: The Life of Sarah Vaughan"
(1993) and "Skain's Domain: A Biography" (1999), which she wrote with the
participation of its subject, Wynton Marsalis. She later chronicled the
lives of Art Blakey (2001) and Carmen McRae (2002).

The magazine Jazz Times named her biography "Straight, No Chaser: The Life
and Genius of Thelonious Monk" (1997), one of the top jazz books of the year

Her many books for children included at least six musical surveys along the
lines of her 1998 book for young adults, "Deep Down in Music: The Art of the
Great Jazz Bassists." She also profiled performers like Mahalia Jackson and
Gloria Estefan for a series of children's books published by Franklin Watts.

Roberta Leslie Gourse was born on Jan. 1, 1939, in Fall River, Mass., and
graduated from Columbia in 1960. She soon published "With Gall and Honey," a
novel depicting romance and self-discovery in Israel.

She is survived by her mother, Zelda Fisher Gourse, of Providence, R.I.

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