Gourse, (Roberta) Leslie 1939-2004

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GOURSE, (Roberta) Leslie 1939-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born January 1, 1939, in Providence, RI; died of respiratory failure December 23, 2004, in New York, NY. Writer. Gourse was best known as an author of biographies about jazz musicians. She graduated in 1960 from Columbia University with a bachelor's degree in creative writing, and the next year published a novel, With Gall and Honey. Fiction writing, however, would not prove to be her mainstay. In the late 1960s, she worked for the CBS radio program Morning Report, and in the early 1970s was a writer for the New York Times. Becoming a full-time freelance writer in 1974, she returned to writing books in 1984 with Student Guide to New York. She would soon specialize in writing about jazz, beginning with Louis' Children: American Jazz Singers (1984). Gourse would go on to write many more books about jazz, including Unforgettable: The Life and Mystique of Nat King Cole (1991), Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul (1995), Wynton Marsalis (1999), and her more recent works, Art Blakey (2001) and Carmen McRae (2002). Some of her books explore other subjects besides jazz. Among these are Pocahontas: Young Peacemaker (1996) and Jim Henson: Young Puppeteer (2000).



Chicago Tribune, January 7, 2005, section 3, p. 11.

Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2005, p. B11.

New York Times, January 5, 2005, p. C14.


AllaboutJazz.com,http://www.allaboutjazz.com/ (February 7, 2005).