Temple University Press’s annual Holiday Book Sale

This week in North Philly Notes, we showcase our annual Holiday Book Sale, being held through December 1 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Event Space in Charles Library, 1900 N. 13th Street in Philadelphia, PA.

Meet Ray Didinger, author of Finished Business and The Eagles Encyclopedia: Champions Edition December 1 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm.


Gift Books and Philadelphia Interest Titles

Salut!: France Meets Philadelphia, by Lynn Miller and Therese Dolan

Salut! provides a magnifique history of Philadelphia seen through a particular cultural lens.

Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia, edited by Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum

Monument Lab energizes a civic dialogue about public art and history around what it means to be a Philadelphian.

Beethoven in Beijing: Stories from the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Historic Journey to China, by Jennifer Lin, with a foreword by Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin

A fabulous photo-rich oral history of a boundary-breaking series of concerts the orchestra performed under famed conductor Eugene Ormandy in China 50 years ago.

The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia: History, Culture, People, and Ideas, edited by Andrea Canepari and Judith Goode

Celebrates the history, impact, and legacy of this vibrant community, tracing four periods of key transformation in the city’s political, economic, and social structures.

BLAM! Black Lives Always Mattered!: Hidden African American Philadelphia of the Twentieth Century, by the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Foreword by Lonnie G. Bunch III

The inspiring stories of 14 important Black Philadelphians in graphic novel form!

Real Philly History, Real Fast: Fascinating Facts and Interesting Oddities about the City’s Heroes and Historic Sites, by Jim Murphy

Philly history in bites that are as digestible as a soft pretzel with mustard!

Exploring Philly Nature: A Guide for All Four Seasons, by Bernard S. Brown, Illustrations by Samantha Wittchen

A handy guide to experiencing the flora and fauna in Philly, this compact illustrated volume contains 52 activities for discovering, observing, and learning more about the concrete jungle that is Philadelphia all year long!

Artists of Wyeth Country: Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth, and Andrew Wyeth, by W. Barksdale Maynard

An unauthorized and unbiased biographical portrait of Andrew Wyeth that includes six in-depth walking and driving tours that allow readers to visit the places the Wyeths and Pyle painted in Chadds Ford, PA.

The Mouse Who Played Football, by Brian Westbrook Sr, and Lesley Van Arsdall, with illustrations by Mr. Tom.

An inspiring story, based on Westbrook’s own experiences, that encourages young readers to believe in themselves and make their unique differences their strengths.

Do Right By Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces, by Valerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D’Angelo

Through lively and intimate back-and-forth exchanges, the authors share information, research, and resources that orient parents and other community members to the ways race and racism will affect a black child’s life—and despite that, how to raise and nurture healthy and happy children. 

The Magic of Children’s Gardens: Inspiring Through Creative Design, by Lolly Tai, with a Foreword by Jane L. Taylor

Landscape architect Lolly Tai provides the primary goals, concepts, and key considerations for designing outdoor spaces that are attractive and suitable for children, especially in urban environments.

The Real Philadelphia Book, Second Edition, by Jazz Bridge

A collection of more than 200 original jazz and blues compositions, arranged alphabetically by song title, showcasing work by generations of Philadelphia musicians.

University Press Week Blog Tour: #NextUP bookseller love!

It’s University Press Week and the Blog Tour is back! This year’s theme is Next. Today’s theme is #NextUP bookseller love!

Featuring forward-thinking local booksellers.

Northwestern University Press

Spotlight on Seminary Co-op Offsets; excerpt from Divine Days

University of Pittsburgh Press

An interview with Anna Weber, Events Director at White Whale Bookstore about the role that UPs play in their store.

Athabasca University Press

A cross-country tour of independent bookstores that we have partnered with over the last couple of years.

Johns Hopkins Press

Bookseller spotlight: Greedy Reads, Baltimore Maryland.

University Press of Florida

Our authors at this year’s Miami Book Fair (Nov 18-20) and a shout-out to the Fair’s bookselling partner, Books & Books, plus highlights from recent author events at Books & Books.

Harvard University Press

Rachel Cass from Harvard Book Store will discuss the new store they are opening in Boston’s Back Bay. She’ll provide an overview of their goals for the store and how UPs will benefit.

University of Missouri Press

A feature on Alex George, author, owner of Skylark Books, founder of the Unbound Book Festival, and winner of this year’s Midwest Bookseller of the Year award.

Yale University Press

Appreciation tweet for local bookstore R.J. Julia.

University of Alberta Press

Celebrating Glass Bookshop in Edmonton, our newest indie, just about to open a physical location after doing pop-ups during the pandemic.

University of Washington Press

Q&A with owner of Phinney Books

Purdue University Press

A brief homage to the 4 local bookstores that support Purdue and Greater Lafayette

University of Toronto

A blog post written by someone from the UofT bookstore

Cornell University Press

Spotlight on indie local booksellers Buffalo Street Books and Odyssey Books by our Director, Jane Bunker

Columbia University Press

Spotlight on East Bay Booksellers

University Press Week: What’s #NextUP in publishing

It’s University Press Week and the Blog Tour is back! This year’s theme is Next. Today’s theme is What’s #NextUP in publishing?

Steven Beschloss and Pardis Mahdavi, write about their new Temple University Press series, Transformations Books.

Our world is at an unprecedented moment of transformation. The worst viral pandemic in over 100 years. Largest outpourings of protests in support of social justice globally in over 100 years. Worst climate crisis in over 100 years.

Our own transformations are both a part of and a response to the world around us. In this time of tumult, our personal transformations inform and also are informed by the political. We have long known that the personal is political, embedded in a larger societal context. What we are experiencing now are examinations and confrontations of how these larger forces transform the personal and vice-versa.

This moment calls for reflection of the self in relation to the world around us. It’s why we are excited to introduce a series of books infused with the insights of academia and matched with personal experiences and compelling narrative writing that can connect with both scholarly and wide public audiences. Transformations Books will explore issues of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, drawing on the lived experiences of authors and grounded in specific locations domestically and globally.

Taking geography and justice as broad mapping coordinates, these short, elegant books of 25,000 to 30,000 words aim to engage a cross-section of popular and scholarly readers with powerful, compelling moments of change—exploring all the pain, joy, promise and resilience these journeys may yield. While these narrative books may include elements of memoir, they also will offer insights into the larger societal and political contexts in which such personal experiences happen and resonate.

As the Transformations Books series is about the locus of place and story, we are eager to both join and shape the conversation about a world and individuals in transition. How do place, moments, and politics affect individual lives—and vice versa?

The launch of Transformations Books is rooted in the belief that well-told narrative stories that address many of the key issues of our time will not only motivate talented writers and thinkers, but also attract a wide readership who may have been hesitant to engage these issues and ideas in more traditional academic modes.

Transformations Books also arrives at a juncture in which the nature of academia and its role in broader society itself is at a critical point of transformation. The need for academia to be both more engaged with and more engaging to a wider public is critical to addressing and solving some of our world’s major challenges. As such, the series itself is about building bridges between academia and the larger public; in the process, we hope it can help drive public discourse and help build coalitions to address the realities of personal pain as well as some of the world’s most wicked problems.

The Transformations project encourages deeper understanding and expression of complex challenges through meaningful stories at moments of epiphany. The more the resulting books may enlighten readers through their personal, emotionally honest and deeply considered stories, the more they may helpfully encourage positive transformations for our communities.

In contrast to most book series, Transformations Books may originate as “Transformations” narrative essays, published as part of the online magazine and an independent publishing channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books. The series is also open to direct submissions from authors across fields and disciplines interested in publishing works that meet the series’ aims and draw on their individual expertise.

University Press Week: What author is #NextUP

It’s University Press Week and the Blog Tour is back! This year’s theme is Next. Today’s theme is What author is #NextUP?

Celebrating first-time authors, Luis Felipe Mantilla, blogs about publishing his first book,
How Political Parties Mobilize Religion: Lessons from Mexico and Turkey, with Temple University Press in June 2021

How Political Parties Mobilize Religion began as a doctoral dissertation that I had set aside for a few years to work on other projects. As tenure drew near, I returned to the book project with some trepidation. I knew the project had important merits–the case selection was good and the core insights about religious parties were original and important–but I also knew it needed a lot of work. I wrote a proposal that emphasized the manuscript’s strengths and treated its weaknesses as arguments for why the book would be different and better than the dissertation. However, despite putting on a brave face, I knew I would need support and encouragement from my future editors.

When I approached a few other presses with the project, I got positive feedback but not the kind of commitment and enthusiasm that I needed to jumpstart the project and keep it going. Some editors seemed very excited about turning my manuscript into different book on the same topic. I felt uncertain and rather discouraged.

A longtime friend and colleague suggested I reach out to Temple, specifically because of its series Religious Engagement in Democratic Politics. Encountering Paul Djupe, the series editor, was a breath of fresh air. He immediately grasped the potential contributions of the book and quickly became a mentor and advocate. His critical suggestions were always targeted and constructive: he was able to identify specific weak spots in a way that helped me to address them without undermining the valuable components of the broader project.

Aaron Javsicas, the press editor, was also consistently supportive, and his practical insights helped ensure that the book stayed on track without making me feel stressed about the process. He was adroit in dealing with several potentially tricky issues. For example, he was the first to suggest a version of book’s current title–the previous version was a bland compromise I had never liked but settled on for lack of an alternative–and he was immediately supportive when I tweaked it to better fit the core argument.

I was regularly impressed with Temple’s ability to get top-tier reviewers at various stages of the project. The feedback from anonymous reviewers was remarkable in its thoroughness and quality, and many of their ideas played a central role in the revised case studies and the final chapters of the book. The last set of reviewers, whose comments are now on the back cover, are preeminent scholars whose approval meant a great deal for a junior scholar like me.

The last stages of book production, from reading proofs to crafting a cover, could easily have been overwhelming. Instead, thanks to Paul and Aaron’s encouragement and the support of the rest of the staff at Temple, it became an opportunity to look back and gain a real appreciation for a project that had taken almost a decade to complete. I particularly appreciated their patience as I suggested changes to the cover design.

Finally, Temple has done a remarkable job of keeping in touch with me after publication. Publicity manager Gary Kramer’s newsletters have alerted to me reviews of my work in a variety of journals, many of which I would have otherwise missed. It has also provided a sense of community and continuity, which, given my experience with Temple, I sincerely appreciate.

From my first encounter with Temple to the present day, the press has done a wonderful job of making me feel like a valued contributor rather than a number on a list or a demanding client. As a first-time author, it was a remarkable experience and one for which I am profoundly grateful.

University Press Week Blog Tour: Who’s NextUP?

It’s University Press Week and the Blog Tour is back! This year’s theme is Next. Today’s theme is Who’s NextUP?

Highlighting early-career press staff members on the rise.

The MIT Press @mitpress

Blurbs from several MITP acquisitions editors about what is #NextUP on their lists

Hopkins Press @jhupress

Spotlight on new Staff Member

University of Georgia Press @UGAPress

Mini profiles of several of our newer employees/employees in new positions

Duke University Press @DukePress

Interview with new Assistant Editor Ryan Kendall

University Press of Colorado @UPColorado

Interview with editors Allegra Martschenko and Robert Ramaswamy

University of Notre Dame Press @UNDPress

Interview with our 5 + 1, who is being introduced to publishing as a potential career

Princeton University Press @PrincetonUPress

Interview with our Publishing Fellows in Content Marketing and Editorial. Launched in 2021 and funded to run for five years, the Publishing Fellowship aims to address a lack of diverse representation across the publishing industry by offering unique mentorship opportunities.

Penn State University Press @PSUPress

Introduction to some of our early-career employees in acquisitions, marketing, and production.

University of Toronto Press @utpress

A post about being at UTP for over a year, the journey of getting into publishing

University of British Columbia Press

Interview with Shalini Nanayakkara, our Press Assiatant, about her first year at UBC Press.

The University of West Indies Press

Feature with Vanessa Parnell-Burton, the UWI Press Accounts Payable Officer about joining the UP publishing world

Purdue University Press @PurduePress

Q&A with Acquisitions Assistant

SUNY Press @SUNYPress

Q&A with two of our early-career employees

University of Michigan Press @UofMPress

Spotlight of new innovations coming to UMP

University Press Week Blog Tour: What’s #NextUP in journals?

It’s University Press Week and the Blog Tour is back! This year’s theme is Next. Today’s theme is What’s NextUP in journals?

Spotlighting new journals and innovative periodical projects.

University of Chicago Press @UChicagoPress

Achieving accessibility in journals publishing

Medieval Institute Publications @MIP_medpub

Blog post on our newest journal, Medieval Ecocriticisms

Hopkins Press @jhupress

Blog post on new journal, Cusp

Duke University Press @DukePress

Announcing two new journals: Critical AI and Monsoon

University of Pennsylvania Press @PennPress

Interview with Jacob Remes, co-editor of Journal of Disaster Studies

University of Toronto Press @utpress

A post by a member of our journals team

The University of the West Indies Press @UWIPress

A post about Caribbean Conjunctures: The Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) Journal

Catholic University of America Press @CUAPress

Highlighting our three new journals & new initiatives we’re taking to publicize them

Celebrating the Italian Legacy in Philadelphia

This week in North Philly Notes, we showcase our recent program celebrating the publication of The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia, edited by Andrea Canepari and Judith Goode.

Cover for The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia

Temple University Libraries and Temple University Press recently participated in an event at Charles Library celebrating the publication of The Italian Legacy in Philadelphia: History, Culture, People, and Ideas, edited by Andrea Canepari, the former Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia, and Judith Goode, Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Urban Studies at Temple University.

Chancellor Englert introducing the panel

The program, which was simulcast with Temple Rome, opened with remarks from Temple University Chancellor Richard Englert, and a welcome from Cristiana Mele, the current Consul General of Italy in Philadelphia.

Panelists (left to right) William Valerio, Domenic Vitiello, Andrew Canepari,
Judith Goode, Chancellor Englert, Inga Saffron

The book was showcased in a panel featuring the coeditors as well as two of the book’s contributors, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron and William Valerio, director of the Woodmere Art Museum.

Canepari spoke about the many rich contributions Italian Americans made to Philadelphia, from art and architecture to food and even Rocky. He also highlighted the “Ciao Philadelphia” celebration of Italian arts, culture, and community.

Andrea Canepari presenting

Goode described the contents of the book, focusing on the approach the contributors took when recounting the history of Italian immigrants and the development of Italian culture in the city. Saffron next presented images of the many Italian influences on Philadelphia architecture, while Valerio discussed various Italian artists whose work is housed in and around the Woodmere Art Museum.

William Valerio presenting

Wrapping up the event were remarks by University of Pennsylvania Professor of Urban Studies Domenic Vitiello, who effused about the book and how its broad treatment of history and urban studies provides something of interest for everyone.

Coeditors Judith Goode and Andrea Canepari signing and posing

Canepari and Goode as well as the other presenters then attended a reception on Charles Library’s 4th floor and terrace, where they signed copies of their book.

Andrea Canepari at the reception; Inga Saffron at the reception; William Valerio at the reception

What next for cultural exchange with China? 

This week in North Philly Notes, Jennifer Lin, author of Beethoven in Beijing writes about the Philadelphia Orchestra cancelling their 50th anniversary trip to China.

The news from the Philadelphia Orchestra last week was disappointing, but frankly not a surprise. The orchestra canceled its China tour, planned for May 2023. The reasons cited were travel complications and potential problems created by the ongoing pandemic. 

Even though Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin led his musicians on a successful tour of European capitals last summer, he would face a vastly different situation if he took the orchestra to Beijing or Shanghai. In stark contrast to the United States, China adheres to a strict zero-COVID policy. In practical terms, this would be unfathomable to Americans. Last spring, Shanghai, a megalopolis of more than 26 million people, went into full lockdown for much of its population for two months. Imagine if Philadelphia had a mandatory lockdown for just a week! Now imagine if for some unforeseen reason, China went into lockdown mode during the orchestra’s visit? You can understand the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the tour. 

But what makes this logical business move so disappointing is the tour would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s historic tour of China in 1973. That trip is the subject of my oral history, Beethoven in Beijing, as well as a documentary I co-directed by the same name, now streaming on PBS. 

My purpose for writing the book and creating the documentary was to elevate the historic importance of that tour. Many people know about “ping-pong diplomacy” and how, in 1971, the surprise detour to Beijing by American table tennis players opened the bamboo curtain separating the United States and China just a crack. But not as many understand the critical role of “music diplomacy” in repairing relations after decades of isolation. And front and center in that diplomatic endeavor were the “Fabulous Philadelphians.” The oral history places the orchestra’s tour against a geopolitical backdrop of Nixon’s groundbreaking decision to go to China in 1972 to begin the process of normalizing relations. Both sides wanted more cultural exchanges and the Philadelphia Orchestra became the first American orchestra to perform in China. 

To this day, Chinese audiences recall with heart-felt nostalgia the time the Philadelphians came to town. When a Pan Am charter carrying 130 Philadelphians touched down in Shanghai, there were no more than 100 or so Americans living in China. The musicians won over the Chinese public and made front-page news. As conductor Eugene Ormandy said on his departure, the tour “was about more than music.”

A 50th-anniversary tour would have been a reason to celebrate the ties that bind. But even if the pandemic burns out by next year, a larger question lingers: What will become of cultural exchanges?

Relations between Washington and Beijing are the worst in decades on so many fronts. The list goes on and on and can lead to truly terrifying scenarios of conflict. But I think back on the most memorable concert I covered in China. It was the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2017 China tour, which ended in grand fashion in Beijing with a performance of Beethoven’s 9th, featuring a Chinese choir. After the finale, every person in that concert hall felt the same elation as we sprang to our feet. It was sublime. 

Recalling that moment reminds me of the words of the Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian author Wole Soyinka. To paraphrase him, politics demonizes, while culture humanizes. 

And in these tense times, we need more music, now more than ever.

Why Richard III?

This week in North Philly Notes, Jeffrey Wilson, author of Richard III’s Bodies from Medieval England to Modernity, writes about why the historical figure seems to be everywhere these days.

“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer,” Richard III beams at the start of Shakespeare’s play.

Summer 2022 really was Richard III’s “glorious summer,” with four major productions appearing all at once: Arthur Hughes for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon; Danai Gurira in the role at the Public Theater in New York; Colm Feore at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada; and The Lost King, a feature film starring Sally Hawkins.

Each production brought something new. Hughes was the first disabled actor to play Shakespeare’s most famous disabled character for the Royal Shakespeare Company, creating conversations about the relationships between disabled actors’ and disabled characters’ bodies. Gurira was the first Black woman to play Richard III on a major stage, sparking discussions about disability and intersectionality. Feore opened the Stratford Festival’s new Tom Patterson Theatre, harkening back to the festival’s first ever play—Richard III in 1953. And The Lost King commemorated the tenth anniversary of the discovery of Richard III’s skeleton on August 24, 2012, stirring controversy about the representation of academic work in mainstream media.

But why Richard III? Why is he always everywhere?

While mired in details of medieval English history, Shakespeare’s Richard III and its configuration of disability, villainy, and tragedy still speak to us in the twenty-first century with a surprising urgency. “Foremost among the standard-bearers of Disability Studies is Shakespeare’s Richard III,” noted leading disability scholar Tobin Siebers just before his death in 2015. Richard’s body was international front-page news when his skeleton was discovered. He’s in that echelon of Shakespearean characters—Shylock, Falstaff, Hamlet, Othello, Caliban—who have entire books written about them, like mine: Richard III’s Bodies from Medieval England to Modernity: Shakespeare and Disability History.

Richard III was Shakespeare’s second-most popular play in print during his lifetime and the most performed history play in both the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries. The four greatest Shakespearean actors of the past four centuries—Richard Burbage, David Garrick, Edmund Kean, Laurence Olivier—all played Richard before Hamlet.

The first Shakespeare play professionally staged in America? Richard III, in 1749. The first play performed by an African American acting company? Richard III, in 1821. Documentaries are made about the challenge and importance of Richard III, such as Looking for Richard (1996) and NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage (2014). The play inspired the recent Netflix hit House of Cards and drew comparisons to the rise of Donald Trump in the New York Times.

James Siemon, a recent editor of Shakespeare’s play, says that Richard III is Janus-faced, pointing from the early-modern age back to its medieval past but also forward to a modern future, “socially topical both to Shakespeare’s London, and, paradoxically, to subsequent social formations even today.” Disability historian Katherine Schaap Williams similarly notes, “Richard’s double-facing presence in the narrative of disability theory,” the character cited as evidence both for and against the presence of the modern understanding of “disability” in the early-modern age.

There’s always a multi-temporality with Richard. How is Richard III always so historical and so current? Why are issues related to medieval disability so relevant to modern life? Why is Shakespeare’s play so persistent? Why do we care so much about Richard III? What is the significance of his body—not only its meaning in Shakespeare’s text (what it signifies) but also its importance as a cultural touchstone in England and beyond (why it is significant)?

The question about cultural importance is connected to the one about textual meaning. Shakespeare wrote three plays about Richard. In the first, Richard’s enemies say his disability signifies his villainy, calling him a “heap of wrath, foul indigested lump, / As crooked in thy manners as thy shape.” In the second, Richard says his body is not the sign but the cause of his behavior: “Love forswore me in my mother’s womb.” In the third, Richard becomes what Sigmund Freud later called an “exception,” someone who has been slighted by nature, has suffered an unfair disadvantage, something he does not deserve and uses to excuse himself from the ethics that govern civil society. “I am determined to prove a villain,” he says with a giddy smile, but should we hear the “determined” in that line as I have been destined for villainy or as I have resolved myself to villainy?

A certain ambiguity in Shakespeare’s representation of Richard’s disability—which destabilized meaning by dramatizing different meanings being made, deferring meaning to different audiences interpreting disability from different perspectives—has created a flexible conceptual space with a huge gravitational pull: some of our most consequential theories of modern aesthetics, theology, philosophy, ethics, psychology, sociology, historiography, science, medicine, and politics have been brought into attempts to understand Richard’s body.

In a quintessentially Shakespearean exchange, the playwright’s dramatic mode, both tragic and ironic, calls upon some of life’s biggest questions (because it is tragic) but defers answers to the audience (because it is ironic), leaving Richard’s body open to interpretation in different ages embracing different attitudes toward stigma. The changing meaning of disability repeatedly recontextualized through shifting perspectives and circumstances in Shakespeare’s history plays has thus prompted and sustained more than four hundred years of changing interpretations of Richard, his body, his behavior, and his status as either the villain or the victim of Tudor history. The meaning of Richard’s disability changes with time, not only in the course of Shakespeare’s plays but also in the broader cultural history surrounding them.

An interpretation of Richard’s body is never just an interpretation of Richard’s body. When we interpret Richard’s disability, it interprets us in return. It brings us to declare our motives and commitments in our attempts to unfold, explain, condemn, justify, defend, and so forth. It catches something in our core and brings it to the surface through its configuration of abstract questions about reality and issues specific to our bodies. It brings us to consider how we would and should respond when, like Richard, we are born into a world that is totally confusing, deeply unsatisfying, or both.

The origins of a Real Book

This week in North Philly Notes, bassist/composer Alan Lewine, a Director of Jazz Bridge Project writes about creating The Real Philadelphia Book.

Listen to a Spotify Playlist of selections from The Real Philadelphia Book here.

12 years!  That’s how long it’s been since pianist and music professor David Dzubinski conceived and began collecting material for The Real Philadelphia Book (RPB). Finally it is coming to the public thanks to the partnership between Philly’s non-profit Jazz Bridge Project (JB) and Temple University Press (TUP). 

Conceiving the idea of a fake book celebrating the rich history and current greats of Philadelphia Jazz as early as 2010, David first discussed the RPB concept with then-executive director and Jazz Bridge founder Suzanne Cloud and JB board member Jim Miller in 2012. The project that has become RPB began to bear fruit with encouragement from Lovett Hines of Philly’s historic Clef Club and the Philadelphia Jazz Project’s Homer Jackson who arranged a meeting with the Samuel S Fels Foundation. This meeting led to the grant that provided some seed money.

JB got involved in the project shortly after and David began soliciting and accepting submissions for inclusion in the RPB around 2013. JB self-published a limited, partial edition of the RPB titled The Philadelphia Real Book, Volume 1 and sponsored a series of related concerts a couple years later. Now, through some years of work with TUP, surviving pandemic interruptions of every sort, and thousands of hours invested by David, his team of transcribers and copyists and many others over the years, the comprehensive edition of the RPB is out and available worldwide.

As Angelo Versace, pianist and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Arizona praised, “a plethora of great composers, and, with such well-edited charts, it is clear to me that this book will become an immediate treasure in the jazz education community.” And as the great jazz organist, Joey DeFrancesco said, “a must-have version … for gigging cats.”

What is a “fake book”? Why call this a Real Book? Paraphrasing Wikipedia’s definition, a fake book is a collection of lead sheets (with melodies and chord symbols) that musicians sometimes use to “fake” a performance of a song they don’t really know by heart. Fake books have been around since at least the early 1940s. Every jazz musician knows “The Real Book.” First put together in the mid-1970s by some students at the famed Berklee College of Music as an underground fake book, the original The Real Book was probably named as an ironic take on “fake book.” While full of errors, it was an improvement on most fake books and became a standard for study and on stage through several editions. The original The Real Book was distributed only under the table or by hand. Why? Because, like most other fake books, these books were entirely copyright infringement – the music was not licensed. 

Hal Leonard, a major music publisher, later used the Real Book name, licensed hundreds of compositions, typeset them and has produced many volumes and versions of legal Real Books. Then, the app iRealBook (now iRealPro) has become a standard study tool providing only chord changes and continuing the Real Book tradition. 

The RPB is the latest Real Book: fully licensed, carefully typeset, and printed with permission of the included composers or their estates.   

Speaking for myself, a working musician and retired lawyer, “After about 5 years leading JB’s efforts at contracting and licensing and coordinating with TUP to get this done, I couldn’t be more thrilled.  The hard-copy RPB looks and feels fantastic and the electronic version works well on my iPad.  So many good tunes to explore as well as a bunch of classic jazz standards with Philly roots. Thank you to David Dzubinski, graphic designer Kathy Ridl, my colleagues on the JB board and at TUP for bringing this great and useful Real Philadelphia Book to the world.”

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