Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

By The Star Tribune

The story of the African-American jazz trombonist Melba Liston (1926-1999) is fascinating, getting fine treatment in this colorful biography by writer Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustration collaborator Frank Morrison. Liston, a child prodigy, went on to a career as one of American jazz’s premier trombonists, performing with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones and Randy Weston. The book is beautifully done in all respects. Russell-Brown interweaves the facts of Liston’s life with a colorful narrative of this gifted artist’s development; Morrison’s painted illustrations are warm and imaginatively composed. In addition, there’s an informative afterword that includes a compact chronology of Liston’s life, as well as a discography and bibliography.