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Praise for Embouchure

Embouchure ain't no mouthpiece; not this time. McNeilly gives us the lives of the jive cats and jellyroll mamas and Dixieland trumpeters who gave jazz meaning by making sure it'd swing. Everybody's in the band here: Satchmo, Bix, Cootie, Bunk, even folks most of us ain't never heard of―or heard before: Valaida/Valada, Madame Meoux.... Best of all, McNeilly's poetry is lyrical, free, down-to-the-bone, as real, fresh, and immediate as true jazz always is. Maybe it's so good because the poet himself is also a trumpeter, listening for the beat, finding the cadence. Embouchure is where your mouth is, where your ear is, and where your eyes are right on time. Damn!
―George Elliott Clarke

Kevin McNeilly’s Embouchure reminds us in its crisp execution that jazz is the place where raw intuition meets music. In riffs that are sharp, savvy, nimble, opinionated, obsessive and wry, he renders fitting tribute to the spirit of the great and not so great jazzmen and women.
―Don McKay

McNeilly’s poetic portrayals do not preclude ending; rather, much like Amiri Baraka’s notion of the changing same, they suggest new possibilities for substantial relistenings. As every note has its own shape, its own mouth, so too does every musician in this collection. Embouchure is about getting into the grooves of history (you find a groove) in order to respond to the present.

—Paul Watkins, Canadian Literature