All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Best of / Year End

Chris May's Best Jazz Books of 2012

By Published: December 16, 2012
Are the best books always about the past rather than the present, or is it simply easier to write about events on which the dust has settled? Whatever. These three books are all about the past and each is outstanding.

Matthew Ruddick

Funny Valentine: The Story Of Chet Baker

Grippingly written and meticulously researched, Matthew Ruddick's 828-page opus is the definitive biography of trumpeter and singer Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
trumpet
. More than that, it is a vivid account of the junkie subculture that ran through mid-to-late 20th century jazz, as seen through the incident-packed life of one of its most spectacular participants. The book combines some of the best qualities of saxophonist Art Pepper
Art Pepper
Art Pepper
1925 - 1982
sax, alto
's unflinching autobiography, Straight Life (Schirmer Books, 1979), and Ian Carr
Ian Carr
Ian Carr
1933 - 2009
trumpet
's scholarly musical biography Miles Davis (Quartet, 1982). It is a compelling and authoritative page-turner in the highest rank of jazz biographies. Baker, born in 1929, found fame early, in 1952, as a member of baritone...continue.

David Kastin

Nica's Dream: The Life And Legend Of The Jazz Baroness

Wonderful woman, wonderful book. David Kastin's assiduously researched biography of Baroness Kathleen Annie Panonnica Rothschild de Koenigswarter (1913-88) brilliantly relates the life of the London-born heiress and last great private patron of American jazz—the "Nica" of Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
's "Pannonica," Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
b.1928
piano
's "Nica's Dream," Sonny Clark
Sonny Clark
Sonny Clark
1931 - 1963
piano
's "Nica," Gigi Gryce
Gigi Gryce
Gigi Gryce
1927 - 1983
saxophone
's "Nica's Tempo," Freddie Redd
Freddie Redd
Freddie Redd
b.1928
piano
's "Nica Steps Out" and another dozen or so compositions. Along the way, Kastin received practically no assistance from the Rothschilds. De Koenigswarter's rejection of her aristocratic European background, and lifelong embrace of the New York jazz world following her separation from her husband and her move to NYC in..continue.

Bob Willoughby

Jazz: Body And Soul

To the wider world, Bob Willoughby is the Los Angeles photographer who took a raft of iconic photographs of movie stars such as Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
1926 - 1962
vocalist
from the mid-1950s through the 1970s. During the earlier part of this period, as the first-call photographer for studios wishing to document the making of a movie, he was, according to Popular Photography magazine, "the man who virtually invented the photojournalistic motion picture still." But before he hit pay dirt in the movie business, Willoughby (1927-2009), an avid jazz fan, spent much of his time photographing jazz musicians performing in and around Los Angeles: onstage, backstage, in their dressing rooms—and not forgetting their audiences. He was certainly one of the men who invented...continue.


comments powered by Disqus