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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux write with intellectual bite, eloquence, and the passion of unabashed fans. They explain what jazz is, where it came from, how it works, and who created it, all within the broader context of American life and culture.
Paperback, 393 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 2009)
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Tim Niland
Prominent jazz journalist Giddins and music scholar and author DeVeaux team up for a very ambitious book covering the length and breadth of the music's history and even offering a boxed set (sold separately) of associated recordings. Aiming the book at undergraduates and music listeners, they begin by explaining what jazz is and the concepts of the music and improvisation involved. Then the authors move into a detailed history of the music, done in chronological fashion. They can't hope to cover...more
Bj Staehlin
A most excellent text on the subject. I had little to no knowledge of the subject, but after this am much more well-informed. I got this from a college library, so I don't know if the general edition from a bookstore would include this, but mine included 4 CDs, the Norton Jazz Recordings. This is what makes it so excellent. When the authors talk about a person, effect, type of music form or whatever, there's a selection that illustrates (audiates?) that. According to the introduction there are 7...more
We all probably know a jazz buff. I've known a few. Nice people in general, but their complete submersion and downright (sorry) snobbery about all other forms of music can be more than a little off-putting. For this and other reasons (no lyrics, difficult listening at times), jazz never seemed quite worth the effort.

If only a great book like "Jazz" was around 25 years ago. Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux tell what is truly a fascinating story of artistry and beauty and tragedy and, well, love, in...more
Sam Poole
Sprawling and enlightening at points, excessive and misguided at others. Annoying tendency to downplay race and identity politics to focus on strict history. Clear agenda missed at points. Quick read and pretty complete.
Feb 22, 2014 Alex marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This looks cool and all, and Joanne even has the accompanying boxed set of CDs. Which makes it more of a project than a book, so I'm psyched to get to it sometime when I have a month of Sundays to kill.
This is an excellent book. I was quite familiar with jazz history, but still learned some things from the narrative; but, more than that, the numerous descriptions of pieces was incredibly helpful. I didn't have the accompanying CDs, but own a number of the described pieces. I found new insight in close listenings of things like Art Tatum's "Over the Rainbow." My only complaint is that I wish they'd done this in a multi-media format.
Jimmy Winokur
Best jazz book I've found. IN additional to social and good biographical treatments, Giddens and his sidekick break history into analytic clusters especially beginning with Modern Jazz, i.e. Be Bop: rhythm, composition, etc., with very helpful analyses of song recordings available to accompany the book. Just greet reading, and reference source.
Enjoyed this comprehensive but thoroughly readable history of jazz music. The listening notes are particularly good. Co-writer Gary Giddins appeared in the Ken Burns Jazz series, but for my money this book gives a more balanced treatment (giving a fair coverage of music beyond the 60s).
Fantastic introduction to jazz and its many paths and variants throughout the 20th century. The book includes analyses - down to the second - of several dozen tracks, most of which are easy to find and listen to on Spotify.
Interesting book. Good views on musical theory and aspects. Loads of incite and information. A great read.
Jun 26, 2011 Sumayyah marked it as unrated-unfinished
Very heavy reading.
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