The story of jazz for the general reader as it has never been told before, from the inside out: a comprehensive, eloquent, scrupulously researched page-turner.
Time Out New York“Giddins is without question the most persuasive literary stylist current working in jazz criticism—no writer has ever written about Louis Armstrong with such vividness, or about Cecil Taylor with such sympathy and analytical insight. DeVeaux provides academic clout and formal rigor, bringing to bear a strong foundation in musicological methodology.”
Booklist“Starred Review. There are numerous histories of jazz on the market, but renowned cirtic Giddins and scholar DeVeaux’s offering jumps immediately to the top of the list.”
David Baker“This is without a doubt one of the best books on jazz ever written. Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux have achieved a monumental feat by creating a history of jazz that will appeal to academicians and aficionados alike. Thoroughly researched and carefully documented, yet written in an entertaining and enjoyable narrative style, this is truly a book for jazz lovers of all backgrounds. By telling the story of jazz in its full cultural, musical, political, social, economic, and historical context, Giddins and DeVeaux have given us one hell of a kick-ass book!”
Ishmael Reed“Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux's Jazz cuts through the gibberish, racial politics, and ideology that typify so much of contemporary jazz criticism. This excellent book, which not only addresses musical theory but provides insight into the history of the art as well, will serve the general reader but can also be used to stimulate discussion groups and jazz workshops.”
Dan Morgenstern“Like no other history, Jazz involves the reader right from the start in an active listening role. The parsing of the selected recordings is brilliantly done, and this feature alone makes the book a must, for beginners and seasoned fans. But there's much more, all imbued with the coauthors' love for and understanding of the music, in all its many facets–and as a living, still evolving language.”
George E. Lewis“In an innovative departure from previous approaches to the history of American Jazz, this eagerly awaited new text by Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux offers a unique combination of cutting-edge historical scholarship and experienced journalistic perspectives. This book is destined to become an important resource, one that confronts crucially important musical and social issues in depth—and with passion.”
Krin Gabbard“This extraordinary book is the one we've been waiting for–an exhaustive, multi-disciplinary, judiciously crafted history of jazz and its culture. It is sure to become the industry standard, cherished by students as well as aficionados, who may dispute its judgments but will surely keep it close at hand as an essential reference.”
Steve CoatesGary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux's weighty, entertaining history…isn't the only book on jazz a fan will want; many of the great figures here, of course, merit full biographies of their own. But it's a sure first call.
The New York Times
Publishers WeeklyThe difficulties of writing cogently about jazz—of discerning musical regularities in a genre built around improvisatory jams, and a narrative thread that transcends haphazard biography—are admirably addressed in this history. Critic Giddins (Bing Crosby) and historian DeVeaux (The Birth of Bebop) have an easier task in the book's first half, which traces jazz's coalescence in New Orleans out of varied strands of black music, its shaping by Armstrong, Ellington and other giants and its efflorescence in the big band era as the soundtrack of the American century. The tune grows unavoidably less catchy as postwar bebop and successor avant-garde tendencies transform jazz into a “self-conscious art music” epitomized by John Coltrane's “existential squawk.” (The authors maintain a cordial respect for every strain of modern jazz except Kenny G: “There are many things to dislike about smooth jazz—for example, everything,” they sputter.) The multimedia work contains moment-by-moment exegeses of classic recordings (“2:13: [Artie] Shaw's line climaxes on a dramatic high note”) that readers can find on the publisher's Web site, along with study aids. The authors' fluent, engaging treatment mixes scholarly lore and sociocultural analysis with piquant character studies and rapt evocations of musical artistry; the result is a treasure-trove for fans and students alike. Photos. (Oct.)
Library JournalJazz studies usually focus on facts and figures or appreciation and interpretation. This new work skillfully blends both approaches in a deeply informed and analytical way that is clear for beginners yet not condescending to aficionados. DeVeaux's (jazz history, Univ. of Virginia; The Birth of Bebop) scholarly knowledge blends evenly with Giddins's (Visions of Jazz) skills as a reviewer, though this highly accessible history and appreciation could use more of Giddins's natural style and a less scholarly tone. The book contains 78 listening guides written with "mostly nonmusicological descriptions," unlike many guides that provide musical transcriptions without descriptive accompaniment. The songs in question are available on a four-CD set that can be ordered separately; as several of these songs are hard to find, the CDs should have accompanied the book, however much that might have increased the price. VERDICT This can and will be used successfully as a textbook and, as such, is less for the casual listener than anyone seriously interested in exploring jazz. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09.]—Peter Thornell, Hingham P.L., MA
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- 9.60(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.79(d)
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