384

Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music
Bob Blumenthal
Collins
ISBN: 0061241792
192 pages
2008

Most jazz fans probably walked by accident into the first disc which got them hooked, then maybe picked up a few more under their own steam, but at some point realised they could use a bit of guidance as to where to find the next classic album. And because other jazzbos aren't that numerous, newbies are usually obliged to turn to books for their researches.

Fortunately, there are many tomes out there that set out the history of the music and identify its classic recordings. Now we can add Jazz: An Introduction to the History and Legends Behind America's Music, by noted jazz writer Bob Blumenthal, to the list. How does this one stack up to what's already out there?

Quite well, actually. Blumenthal's text is breezy while being comprehensive, and thorough without being snobby. It's an attractive book, filled with lots of pictures, and it's a quick read. Some artists obviously get more coverage than others—trumpeters Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis and saxophonist Charlie Parker, in particular, are well represented, as they should be. Blumenthal also covers those changes in the recording industry that have impacted on jazz over the years, from radio broadcasts to the invention of the CD. This is an area of jazz scholarship that has been under-represented in the past, and it's a welcome addition.

Blumenthal also provides helpful sidebars for the novice. "Essential To Know" covers those aspects of jazz history that are needed for a complete knowledge of the genre, and "Did You Know?" covers those little kernels of knowledge that are jazz trivia, yet helpful in orienting one to the multifaceted music.

Blumenthal is also to be commended for giving ample attention to modern jazz. Many histories lack any information on jazz past the 1960s, yet this book covers all the current pioneers as well as those who didn't quite get their due until well into their recording career (saxophonist Joe Henderson is a perfect example.)

Seasoned jazz fans will find little here that they don't already know. But for the novice, this is an excellent introduction. All the major players and labels are covered, and at the end of each section an album guide tells the reader which discs to pick up. Blumenthal has added a passionate and wonderfully accessible book to the jazz scholarship canon.


Shop

More Articles

Read The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good Book Reviews The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good
by Doug Collette
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1965 Book Reviews The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1965
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge Book Reviews Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2017
Read Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie Book Reviews Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia" Book Reviews How to Listen to Jazz by Ted Gioia
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 13, 2016
Read "Whisper Not: The Autobiography Of Benny Golson" Book Reviews Whisper Not: The Autobiography Of Benny Golson
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth" Book Reviews Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Man Of The Light: The Life And Work Of Zbigniew Seifert" Book Reviews Man Of The Light: The Life And Work Of Zbigniew Seifert
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!