Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

By Booklist

Melba Doretta Liston grew up surrounded by music in Depression era Kansas City and L.A., and all through her family’s home, “notes stirred and rhythms bubbled.” Even though her first trombone was almost bigger than she was, she couldn’t keep her hands off of it. “The cool brass of the horn felt swell on her fingers,” and soon this trombone phenom was playing on the radio, writing tunes, and touring the world. As an African American woman, she experienced tough times along the way, but neither the fans nor the music would give up on Melba, and her career and accolades continued into the 1990s. In a smoothly passed narrative, this picture-book biography surveys the full life arc of a relatively unknown and unique jazz master. Brimming with inherent and inescapable enthusiasm, the oil-painting illustrations are the cat’s pajamas, with brassy colors and jazzy perspectives that slide across the long pages, like Melba’s own instrument. A strong afterword, discography, and source notes round out this enlightening, enjoyable introduction