Jazz critics Crowther and Pinfold here collaborate with Driggs, owner of a noted jazz picture archive, to produce, in words and photos, a history of big band music in the 20th century. From Jim Europe during World War I to Toshiko Akiyoshi, who combines East and West in her big band of the 1980s, they cover well-known personalities like Paul Whiteman, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Stan Kenton, and the musicians with whom they performed. The dryly written fact-filled text is enlivened by sidebars with profiles of the artists, anecdotes and reminiscences by the musicians and their fans, which provide the collection's more entertaining moments. With its numerous photographs of the bands and the soloists, in black and white and color, this is a coffee-table book for those who enjoy nostalgia. (Nov.)
YA As the title suggests, The Big Band Years concentrates on the period of jazz history when big bands, their stars, and even their sidemen were at the height of their popularity. However the book is much more. It is also a fact-filled overview of jazz, complete with a great pictorial display of the artists who have given us jazz, past and present. The artists and their directions are highlighted through the years with nice detail and good clarity. A fair-sized discography is also included. This most colorful account of jazz, concentrating on the past and future directions of big bands, is a must for any jazz book collection as well as for those persons not previously exposed to the great sounds and history of big bands. John J. Gordon, II, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.
Anecdotal, well-illustrated (many published for the first time) chronological history of the rise and fall and continuance of the big bands in the US. Aimed at "buffs" but not without interest for the serious student of popular music. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)