The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz

by Leonard Feather
     
 

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From birth dates to gig dates and from recordings to television specials, Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler have left no stone unturned in their quest for accurate, detailed information on the careers of 3,300 jazz musicians from around the world. We learn that Duke Ellington worked his magic at The Cotton Club from 1927 to 1931, and that on Miles Davis's thirteenth

Overview

From birth dates to gig dates and from recordings to television specials, Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler have left no stone unturned in their quest for accurate, detailed information on the careers of 3,300 jazz musicians from around the world. We learn that Duke Ellington worked his magic at The Cotton Club from 1927 to 1931, and that on Miles Davis's thirteenth birthday, his father gave him his first trumpet. Jazz is fast moving, and this edition clearly and concisely maps out an often dizzying web of professional associations. We find, for instance, that when Miles Davis was a St. Louis teenager he encountered Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie for the first time. This meeting proved fateful, and by 1945 a nineteen-year-old Davis had left Juilliard to play with Parker on 52nd Street. Knowledge of these professional alliances, along with the countless others chronicled in this book, are central to tracing the development of significant jazz movements, such as the "cool jazz" that became one of Miles Davis's hallmarks.

Arranged alphabetically according to last name, each entry of this book chronologically lists the highlights of every jazz musician's career. Highly accessible and vigorously researched, The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz is, quite simply, the most comprehensive jazz encyclopedia available.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This updated version comes 23 years after Feather and Gitler's Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies, itself a follow-up to the Encyclopedia of Jazz (published in the 1950s) and the Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Sixties. The older encyclopedias were heavily consulted standard reference tools, and this publication is sure to follow suit. Beware of two drawbacks, however: the editors neglect many musicians, often still active, who have worked in the field over the past 30-plus years, and many foreign musicians. For example, one misses multi-instrumentalist Milo Fine, who has been recording since 1969; most of his recordings are easily available, and he continues performing to this day. Musicians as varied as Richard Tabnik, Myra Melford, Matt Turner, Ahmed Abdullah, and Don Messina are also ignored. Including a few foreign musicians doesn't do justice to the hundreds of others left out--the Italian jazz scene alone could easily support 100 entries. There are no excuses for these failings, although many other works, e.g., All Music Guide to Jazz (Miller Freeman, 1998. 3d ed.) has the same frustrating problems. In addition, CDs are listed by label, and over 400 abbreviations allow the text to be condensed at the expense of a smooth narrative (users of the older Encyclopedias are familiar with this scheme). Still, what is included in this book is very useful. The citations give accurate basic background on musicians from the 1920s onward. Recommended, despite its shortcomings, for public and academic libraries, especially those supporting strong music collections; readers looking for a more complete listing of jazz musicians should see "The European Free Improvisation Pages" (www.shef.ac.uk/misc/rec/ps/efi/ehome. html).--William Kenz, Moorhead State Univ. Lib., MN Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A welcome sight for musicians, fans, and educators....Feather and Gitler's magnum opus is a fitting capstone to a magnificent century of swing, and a prophecy book foretelling the shapers of jazz to come."—DownBeat

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195320008
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
744
Sales rank:
761,380
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 7.00(h) x 2.00(d)

Meet the Author

Leonard Feather, one of the deans of jazz criticism, is a widely respected figure in jazz writing. He moved to New York from England in the 1930s and made a significant career in jazz here as a journalist, producer, lecturer, broadcaster, musician, and writer of hundreds of jazz compositions. After founding The Encyclopedia of Jazz series in the mid 1950s, he moved to California, becoming the jazz columnist for the Los Angeles Times and The Book of Jazz. Leonard Feather died in 1994. Ira Gitler's writing has helped illuminate the jazz scene from 1951, when he wrote the first of countless album and CD annotations. He was the New York editor of Downbeat in the 1960s and continues to contribute to that publication, as well as to JazzTimes and Internet publications. His credits as a producer include recordings and concerts, and he teaches jazz history at the Manhattan School of Music. His books include the highly acclaimed Jazz Masters of the '40s and Swing to Bop, the latter written while hw was a Guggenheim fellow. He lives in New York City.

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