Incurable brainiacs and the plain curious will find much to absorb in Listen to This, an anthology of writings by the New Yorker music critic Alex Ross. Particularly fascinating is how Ross connects the dots from Bach to Bjork, Schubert to Sinatra .
The book includes material already published in The New Yorker but heavily revised for the occasion. Among the highlights is a chapter on the cross-cultural ubiquity of the descending bassline in music ranging from Renaissance dances to American blues. Ross discussed this recently on the debut episode of All Ears with Terrance McKnight.
Listen To This by Alex Ross (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) ($18)