479

What to Listen for In Jazz

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
What to Listen for In Jazz by Barry Kernfeld
Yale University Press
ISBN 0-300-07259-7

Though I enjoyed it, I'm a bit confused about the intended audience for "What to Listen for in Jazz."

Though the tone is geared toward novices, Barry Kernfeld provides many examples of musical concepts (swing, harmony, improvisation, etc.) in notation. Perhaps the book is intended for music students who know the basics of notation and theory, but who are unfamiliar with the history and concepts of jazz. There's no mention of what sort of audience Kernfeld had in mind.

At any rate, if you remember enough from your elementary school music classes to make a little sense out of the notated examples, it's an entertaining book. Kernfeld, the editor of the "New Grove Dictionary of Jazz," does a nice job detailing the rhythmic and tonal concepts at work in jazz. He also goes into form, explaining how jazz musicians mix composed/arranged music with improvisation.

Best of all, all the musical examples are drawn from a CD that comes with the book. Classic jazz recordings by Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Earl Hines, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins and others are used to illustrate concepts such as double-time, improvised solos, swing rhythms, harmony and more.

It's not really for a general audience, but if you've got the background and the inclination to learn a little more about the technical aspects of jazz, the book and CD are an enjoyable package.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz Book Reviews Good Things Happen Slowly: A Life In And Out Of Jazz
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 13, 2017
Read Jazzing: New York City's Unseen Scene Book Reviews Jazzing: New York City's Unseen Scene
by David A. Orthmann
Published: August 29, 2017
Read David Bowie: Behind the Curtain Book Reviews David Bowie: Behind the Curtain
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Beatles - On the Road, 1964-1966 Book Reviews The Beatles - On the Road, 1964-1966
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "I Scare Myself by Dan Hicks" Book Reviews I Scare Myself by Dan Hicks
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth" Book Reviews Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Go Slow: The Life of Julie London" Book Reviews Go Slow: The Life of Julie London
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: June 30, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.