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Reviews and News

The latest review of SWING is by Yahoo! Contributor Mary Beth Magee.

If you have Amazon Prime you can now 'borrow' the Kindle version of SWING for FREE!

Here's another book review, by Scott Eyman of the Palm Beach Post.  

The list of positive reviews for SWING continues:

I highly recommend this book. I usually listen to audio books, but this is one book in print that I couldn't put down. Don't even think about it. Just read it! This is a good one.  

"SWING" is a great read, and a more than impressive, heartfelt, first novel from this author. Bravo!  

A great read about perseverance and acceptance and a trip to the world of Swing.

Here is my recommendation...buy it for your IPad or eReader, download some Louis Prima songs, put your earphones in, turn up the volume and enjoy it.

Alan Gerstel's Blog
headshot of Alan Gerstel, author


Click here to buy the book on Amazon.

It is also available as an ebook.


Entries in new orleans (2)


The Dixie Cups


When I was in high school many eons ago, I had a passion for music.  I played piano, sax and clarinet and joined whatever school bands I could.  I was a member of the orchestra, the dance band and the marching band.

But I had the most fun as a member of the Dixieland band “The Dixie Cups.”

I played clarinet and we also had a trumpet player, a trombone player and a drummer (my best friend, Brian Bell.)  Our slogan was “Save your Dixie cups.  The South will rise again.”  (What did four boys from New Jersey know?)

We played “When the Saints Go Marchin In”… “Basin Street Blues”… and so many other songs connected with New Orleans.  And we had fun doing it!!!

I can recall how the audiences reacted to our music and how pumped up we got from the response.

It wasn’t until many years later, when I learned that Louis Prima was my birth father, that I understood why I was so stoked by the music.  I had been playing the same music that my birth father was raised on… and made a name for himself with… good old Dixieland.

What are the odds that an adopted teenager would be playing his birth father’s music without ever knowing it?  I’d say the odds were pretty long.


Youtube streaming New Orleans Jazz Festival 2012.

Kudos to YouTube for live streaming the sounds of the New Orleans Jazz Festival the past few weekends.  I knew nothing about the streaming until I went on YouTube to check out a video and stumbled upon it and became mesmerized.

I was thrilled to watch Allen Toussaint and his band!!  I couldn’t turn it off, and in fact, I ordered one of his CDs.  I’d rather have been there in person, particularly since that Festival honored my birth father, Louis Prima, two years ago.  I have the large poster from the Festival painted by Tony Bennett hanging upstairs.

I had thought of attending the Festival in the past, but was worried that the crowds would be overwhelming. (I am a claustrophobe.)  But everyone seemed to have space to move around and the weather looked very comfortable.  So maybe next year!

I should also mention that my sister, Lena, is singing at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone in the heart of the Big Easy.  I’m looking for a way to get there just to see her perform again.  She has golden pipes and the talent to go along with them.  She obviously inherited the singing talent from our shared father that I wish I had.  Oh well, I’ll have to settle for being an actor rather than a singer.

The festival is over, but more info on the acts and streaming is detailed on the Youtube Global blog.