Jim's Reviews > The Making of Jazz

The Making of Jazz by James Lincoln Collier
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's review
Jul 22, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: music
Read in July, 2009

Unlike most jazz histories, this book focuses on the the musical details that differentiate one style or one artist from another, with careful examples from specific records. Louis Armstrong is not just wonderful. We find that he introduced the concept of extended solos, playing away from the ground beat, and shaping a solo to tell a story rather than simply providing a variation. The inexperienced reader comes away from this book much wiser.

Being over 30 years old, the book has its limitations. Free jazz is just random noise in Collier's view, and fusion is non-jazz. Miles Davis is a musician with limited skills and a good eye for talent. He does hold out hope for a 15 year-old musician who would recognize the virtues of bop and revitalize the style. (Wynton Marsalis would have been about 18 when this was written)
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