Interested in the history of jazz? There's an app for that nowand it's a beauty. Created by the app start-up 955 Dreams, The History of Jazz is a gem of a program which is set up as a time line of jazz history. Its extensive descriptions are divided into eras and styles, and include biographies, music samples, Wikipedia links and lots of YouTube videos of the artists being chronicled. The app is pleasing to the eye with colorful graphics and photographs. The time line is easy to navigate through either a swipe or by touching a piano keyboard graphic.
The time line is arranged in five year increments, beginning with ragtime and then moving through New Orleans jazz, Chicago and the jazz age, swing, big band, bebop, hard bop, vocal jazz, fusion, nu jazz and many other sub-styles in between. A tap of any of the dozens of artists reveals a biography, several videos and an iTunes link to albums and individual songs. Wikipedia links introduce readers to various jazz terms, famous jazz clubs and festivals.
While most of the material is linked material rather than original, what this app does is pull the information together in chronological order that makes sense to the beginner or jazz enthusiast. It would also be quite useful to jazz educators teaching jazz history. The format is intuitive and elegant in design and allows the reader to delve deep into the history and diversity of jazz.
Most importantly, what is happening with The History of Jazz may be the future of book publishing. 955 Dreams has chosen jazz to introduce its reader platform, and it is easy to imagine future books being published this way. Aside from other music genres using the platform, it's easy to imagine how-to books, travel guides and online courses that would pool internet sources and videos, creating interactive books for the iPad and other emerging tablets. Jazz enthusiasts are fortunate that 955 Dreams has chosen jazz as its first tablet book. The History of Jazz app offers the opportunity to learn more about jazz with the added benefit of a glimpse at the possible future of publishing.