'Max Harrison . . . surveys the whole history and development of jazz in a concise, well written and well illustrated . . . article together with an extensive bibliography.' Richard D. C. Noble, Times Literary Supplement
The chapters of this book are in roughly chronological sequence: Spirituals, Blues, Gospels, Ragtime, and Jazz. The first three are by Paul Oliver, whose New Grove entry on the Blues is widely regarded as the definitive brief history of the genre. He has revised and expanded it for this book publication and, in addition, has extended the coverage of his essays on Spirituals in The New Grove to discuss both black and white traditions. Similarly, Oliver has revised and recast his coverage of Gospel music, which has been considerably expanded. Max Harrison's long entry on Jazz, which has also been extended, draws together the separate strands of the book to discuss the concept of Jazz as a matrix of mutually influential folk and popular styles. William Bolcom's short and definitive article on Ragtime has been revised, and all the bibliographies have been updated to include new and important works.