The product of more than fifteen years of immersion in the jazz world, Thinking in Jazz combines participant observation with detailed musicological analysis, the author's experience as a jazz trumpeter, interpretations of published material by scholars and performers, and, above all, original data from interviews with more than fifty professional musicians: bassists George Duvivier and Rufus Reid; drummers Max Roach, Ronald Shannon Jackson, and Akira Tana; guitarist Emily Remler; pianists Tommy Flanagan and Barry Harris; saxophonists Lou Donaldson, Lee Konitz, and James Moody; trombonist Curtis Fuller; trumpeters Doc Cheatham, Art Farmer, Wynton Marsalis, and Red Rodney; vocalists Carmen Lundy and Vea Williams; and others. Together, the interviews provide insight into the production of jazz by great artists like Betty Carter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, and Charlie Parker.
Thinking in Jazz overflows with musical examples from the 1920s to the present, including original transcriptions (keyed to commercial recordings) of collective improvisations by Miles Davis's and John Coltrane's groups. These transcriptions provide additional insight into the structure and creativity of jazz improvisation and represent a remarkable resource for jazz musicians as well as students and educators.
Berliner explores the alternative ways—aural, visual, kinetic, verbal, emotional, theoretical, associative—in which these performers conceptualize their music and describes the delicate interplay of soloist and ensemble in collective improvisation. Berliner's skillful integration of data concerning musical development, the rigorous practice and thought artists devote to jazz outside of performance, and the complexities of composing in the moment leads to a new understanding of jazz improvisation as a language, an aesthetic, and a tradition. This unprecedented journey to the heart of the jazz tradition will fascinate and enlighten musicians, musicologists, and jazz fans alike.
In Herbie Hancock the legendary jazz musician and composer reflects on a life and a thriving career that has spanned seven decades. A true innovator, Hancock has had an enormous influence on both acoustic and electric jazz, R&B and hip-hop, with his ongoing exploration of different musical genres, winning fourteen Grammy awards along the way.
From his beginnings as a child prodigy to his work in Miles Davis’s second great quintet; from his innovations as the leader of his own groundbreaking sextet to his collaborations with everyone from Wayne Shorter to Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder; Herbie Hancock reveals the method behind Hancock’s undeniable musical genius.
Hancock shares his musical influences, colorful behind-the-scenes stories, his long and happy marriage, and how Buddhism inspires him creatively and personally. Honest, enlightening, and as electrifyingly vital as the man who wrote it, Herbie Hancock promises to be an invaluable contribution to jazz literature and a must-read for fans and music lovers.
Holiday's career took off in the 1930s, during the Depression, and the biography evokes the era and atmosphere of the jazz club scene. The state of race relations in the country is discussed as Holiday tours with white bandleaders such as Artie Shaw and even as she sings about lynching in the controversial Strange Fruit. The narrative further chronicles Holiday's relationships, descent into drug addiction, the subsequent diminishment of her talent, and tragic early death. Readers today will then want to seek out Holiday's recordings to more fully appreciate her interpretations of the songs of that classic era.
Selected for "The Best of the Best" from University Presses, ALA Conference, 2010.
Winner of the 2010 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in Jazz, 2010.
Jade Visions is the first biography of one of the twentieth century's most influential jazz musicians, bassist Scott LaFaro. Best known for his landmark recordings with Bill Evans, LaFaro played bass a mere seven years before his life and career were tragically cut short by an automobile accident when he was only 25 years old. Told by his sister, this book uniquely combines family history with insight into LaFaro's music by well-known jazz experts and musicians Gene Lees, Don Thompson, Jeff Campbell, Phil Palombi, Chuck Ralston, Barrie Kolstein, and Robert Wooley. Those interested in Bill Evans, the history of jazz, and the lives of working musicians of the time will appreciate this exploration of LaFaro’s life and music as well as the feeling they’ve been invited into the family circle as an intimate.
Michael Sparke's narrative captures that enthusiasm in words: a lucid account of the evolution of the Kenton Sound, and the first book to offer a critical evaluation of the role that Stan played in its creation. Insightful and thought-provoking throughout, and supported by liberal quotes from the musicians who made the magic, even at his most contentious the author's high regard and admiration for his subject shines through. The most knowledgeable of Stan's fans will learn new facts from this far-reaching biography of a man and his music. Stan Kenton will be essential reading for every Kenton devotee and jazz historian.
Clearly organized into easily mastered segments, each chapter is divided into separate lessons on harmony or improvisation. All music is shown in standard notation and TAB.
Lady Sings the Blues is the fiercely honest, no-holds-barred autobiography of Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz, swing, and standards singing sensation. Taking the reader on a fast-moving journey from Holiday’s rough-and-tumble Baltimore childhood (where she ran errands at a whorehouse in exchange for the chance to listen to Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith albums), to her emergence on Harlem’s club scene, to sold-out performances with the Count Basie Orchestra and with Artie Shaw and his band, this revelatory memoir is notable for its trenchant observations on the racism that darkened Billie’s life and the heroin addiction that ended it too soon. We are with her during the mesmerizing debut of “Strange Fruit”; with her as she rubs shoulders with the biggest movie stars and musicians of the day (Bob Hope, Lana Turner, Clark Gable, Benny Goodman, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, and more); and with her through the scrapes with Jim Crow, spats with Sarah Vaughan, ignominious jailings, and tragic decline. All of this is told in Holiday’s tart, streetwise style and hip patois that makes it read as if it were written yesterday.
The Making of Kind of Blue is an exhaustively researched examination of how this masterpiece was born. Recorded with pianist Bill Evans, tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, composer/theorist George Russell and Miles himself, the album represented a fortuitous conflation of some of the real giants of the jazz world, at a time when they were at the top of their musical game. The end result was a recording that would forever change the face of American music.
Through extensive interviews and access to rare recordings Nisenson pieced together the whole story of this miraculous session, laying bare the genius of Miles Davis, other musicians, and the heart of jazz itself.
Louis Armstrong's New Orleans interweaves a searching account of early twentieth-century New Orleans with a narrative of the first twenty-one years of Armstrong's life. Drawing on a stunning body of first-person accounts, this book tells the rags-to-riches tale of Armstrong's early life and the social and musical forces that shaped him. The city and the musician are both extraordinary, their relationship unique, and their impact on American culture incalculable.
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"Alluring. . . . Capture[s] much of the breadth of the music, as well as the passionate debates it has stirred, more vividly than any other jazz anthology to date."--Chicago Tribune
No musical idiom has inspired more fine writing than jazz, and nowhere has that writing been presented with greater comprehensiveness and taste than in this glorious collection. In Reading Jazz, editor Robert Gottlieb combs through eighty years of autobiography, reportage, and criticism by the music's greatest players, commentators, and fans to create what is at once a monumental tapestry of jazz history and testimony to the elegance, vigor, and variety of jazz writing.
Here are Jelly Roll Morton, recalling the whorehouse piano players of New Orleans in 1902; Whitney Balliett, profiling clarinetist Pee Wee Russell; poet Philip Larkin, with an eloquently dyspeptic jeremiad against bop. Here, too, are the voices of Billie Holiday and Charles Mingus, Albert Murray and Leonard Bernstein, Stanley Crouch and LeRoi Jones, reminiscing, analyzing, celebrating, and settling scores. For anyone who loves the music--or the music of great prose--Reading Jazz is indispensable.
"The ideal gift for jazzniks and boppers everywhere. . . . It gathers the best and most varied jazz writing of more than a century."--Sunday Times (London)
From the Trade Paperback edition.
An Economist Best Book of the Year
"A radiantly accomplished writer . . . Gioia conveys his passion for the music with vivid description and shrewd judgements."-Wall Street Journal
In How to Listen to Jazz, award-winning music scholar Ted Gioia presents a lively introduction to the art of listening to jazz. He tells us what to listen for in a performance and includes a guide to today's leading jazz musicians. From Louis Armstrong's innovative sounds to the exotic compositions of Duke Ellington, Gioia covers everything from the music's history to the building blocks of improvisation. A true love letter to jazz by a foremost expert, How to Listen to Jazz is a must-read for anyone who's ever wanted to understand America's greatest contribution to music.
"Gioia could not have done a better job. Through him, jazz might even find new devotees."-Economist
"How to Listen to Jazz is a packed and useful introduction to the medium. . . . You feel you are in good hands."-Weekly Standard
interpretive history of jazz available in one volume.
expanded to incorporate the dominant styles and musicians since the book’s last
publication in 1992, as well as the fruits of current research about earlier
periods in the history of jazz. In addition, new chapters have been added on
John Zorn, jazz in the 1990s and beyond, samplers, the tuba, the harmonica,
non-Western instruments, postmodernist and repertory big bands, how the
avant-garde has explored tradition, and many other subjects.
continue well into the 21st century to fill the need for information about an
art form widely regarded as America’s greatest contribution to the world’s
"What is jazz? The rhythm — the feeling." — Coleman Hawkins
"The best sound usually comes the first time you do something. If it's spontaneous, it's going to be rough, not clean, but it's going to have the spirit which is the essence of jazz." — Dave Brubeck
Here, in their own words, such famous jazz musicians as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, Bunk Johnson, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Clarence Williams, Jo Jones, Jelly Roll Morton, Mezz Mezzrow, Billie Holiday, and many others recall the birth, growth, and changes in jazz over the years. From its beginnings at the turn of the twentieth century in the red-light district in New Orleans (or Storyville, as it came to be known), to Chicago's Downtown section and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Chicago's South Side to jam sessions in Kansas City to Harlem during the Depression years, the West Coast and modern developments, the story of jazz is vividly and colorfully documented in hundreds of personal interviews, letters, tape recorded and telephone conversations, and excerpts from previously printed articles that appeared in books and magazines.
There is no more fascinating and lively history of jazz than this firsthand telling by the men who made it. It should be read and re-read by all jazz enthusiasts, musicians, students of music and culture, students of American history, and other readers. "A lively book bearing the stamp of honesty and naturalness." — Library Journal. "A work of considerable substance." — The New Yorker. "Some of the quotations are a bit racy but they give the book a wonderful flavor." — San Francisco Chronicle.
Those closest to him described a shy person who used anger and arrogance as a shield to keep others away. Likewise, his addictive personality – he battled drugs and alcohol for virtually his entire adult life – made his creative achievements all the more remarkable. Miles died younger than he might have were it not for those self-destructive tendencies, but not before creating dozens of the most important jazz albums in the history of the genre.
This book explores Davis’ fascinating life.
In this beautiful book, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musician and composer Wynton Marsalis explores jazz and how an understanding of it can lead to deeper, more original ways of being, living, and relating–for individuals, communities, and nations. Marsalis shows us how to listen to jazz, and through stories about his life and the lessons he has learned from other music greats, he reveals how the central ideas in jazz can influence the way people think and even how they behave with others, changing self, family, and community for the better. At the heart of jazz is the expression of personality and individuality, coupled with an ability to listen to and improvise with others. Jazz as an art–and as a way to move people and nations to higher ground–is at the core of this unique, illuminating, and inspiring book, a master class on jazz and life by a brilliant American artist.
Advance praise for Moving to Higher Ground
“An absolute joy to read. Intimate, knowledgeable, supremely worthy of its subject. In addition to demolishing mediocre, uniformed critics, Moving to Higher Ground is a meaningful contribution to music scholarship.”
“I think it should be in every bookstore, music store, and school in the country.”
“Jazz, for Wynton Marsalis, is nothing less than a search for wisdom. He thinks as forcefully, and as elegantly, as he swings. When he reflects on improvisation, his subject is freedom. When he reflects on harmony, his subject is diversity and conflict and peace. When he reflects on the blues, his subject is sorrow and the mastery of it–how to be happy without being blind. There is philosophy in Marsalis’s trumpet, and in this book. Here is the lucid and probing voice of an uncommonly soulful man.”
–Leon Wieseltier, literary editor, The New Republic
“Wynton Marsalis is absolutely the person who should write this book. Here he is, as young as morning, as fresh as dew, and already called one of the jazz greats. He is not only a seer and an exemplary musician, but a poet as well. He informs us that jazz was created, among other things, to expose the hypocrisy and absurdity of racism and other ignorances in our country. Poetry was given to human beings for the same reason. This book could be called “How Love Can Change Your Life,” for there could be no jazz without love. By love, of course, I do not mean mush, or sentimentality. Love can only exist with courage, and this book could not be written without Wynton Marsalis’s courage. He has the courage to make powerful music and to love the music so, that he willingly shares its riches with the entire human family. We are indebted to him.”
From the Hardcover edition.
With precision and empathy, Cohodas weaves the story of Simone's contentious relationship with audiences and critics, her outspoken support for civil rights, her two marriages and her daughter, and, later, the sense of alienation that drove her to live abroad from 1993 until her death. Alongside these threads runs a more troubling one: Simone's increasing outbursts of rage and pain that signaled mental illness and a lifelong struggle to overcome a deep sense of personal injustice.
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the twentieth century—and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. The grandson of a slave, he dropped out of high school to become one of the world’s most famous musicians, a showman of incomparable suavity who was as comfortable in Carnegie Hall as in the nightclubs where he honed his style. He wrote some fifteen hundred compositions, many of which, like “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady,” remain beloved standards, and he sought inspiration in an endless string of transient lovers, concealing his inner self behind a smiling mask of flowery language and ironic charm.
As the biographer of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout is uniquely qualified to tell the story of the public and private lives of Duke Ellington. A semi-finalist for the National Book Award, Duke peels away countless layers of Ellington’s evasion and public deception to tell the unvarnished truth about the creative genius who inspired Miles Davis to say, “All the musicians should get together one certain day and get down on their knees and thank Duke.”