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Learn all about the history of jazz with Book People's hand-picked selection of books on jazz. We even have books explaining about the theories behind the all-encompassing genre.

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Jazz Books

Learn all about the history of jazz with Book People's hand-picked selection of books on jazz. We even have books explaining about the theories behind the all-encompassing genre.

  • But Beautiful

    Geoff Dyer

    Product Code: BDUDS
    Paperback
    Lester Young fading away in a hotel room; Charles Mingus storming down the streets of New York on a too-small bicycle; Thelonius Monk creating his own private language on the piano...In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skilfully evokes the embattled lives of the players who shaped modern jazz. He draws on photos and anecdotes, but music is the driving force of But Beautiful and Dyer brings it to life in luminescent and wildly metaphoric prose that mirrors the quirks, eccentricity, and brilliance of each musician's style.
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • Norman Granz

    Tad Hershorn

    Product Code: BEZVP
    Hardback
    'Any book on my life would start with my basic philosophy of fighting racial prejudice. I loved jazz, and jazz was my way of doing that,' Norman Granz told Tad Hershorn during the final interviews given for this book. Granz, who died in 2001, was iconoclastic, independent, immensely influential, often thoroughly unpleasant - and one of jazz's true giants. Granz played an essential part in bringing jazz to audiences around the world, defying racial and social prejudice as he did so, and demanding that African-American performers be treated equally everywhere they toured. In this definitive biography, Hershorn recounts Granz's story: creator of the legendary jam session concerts known as Jazz at the Philharmonic; founder of the Verve record label; pioneer of live recordings and worldwide jazz concert tours; manager and recording producer for numerous stars, including Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson.
    • £27.89
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  • The Jazz Standards

    Ted Gioia

    Product Code: BEIDX
    Hardback
    Written by award-winning jazz historian Ted Gioia, this comprehensive guide offers an illuminating look at more than 250 seminal jazz compositions. In this comprehensive and unique survey, here are the songs that sit at the heart of the jazz repertoire, ranging from "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Autumn in New York" to "God Bless the Child," "How High the Moon," and "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." Gioia includes Broadway show tunes written by such greats as George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, and classics by such famed jazz musicians as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Duke Ellington, and John Coltrane. The book offers vibrant discussions of each song, packed with information about how the song was written, who recorded it, the song's place in jazz history, and much more. Gioia includes recommendations for more than 2,000 recordings, with a list of suggested tracks for each song. Filled with colorful anecdotes and expert commentary, The Jazz Standards will appeal to a wide audience, serving as a fascinating introduction for new fans, an invaluable and long-needed handbook for jazz lovers and musicians, and an indispensable reference for students and educators.
    • £24.39
    • RRP £30.49
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  • Derek Bailey

    Ben Watson

    Product Code: BCPUN
    Paperback
    This brilliant biography of the cult guitar player makes you forget everything you think you know about jazz improvisation, post punk and the avant-garde Derek Bailey was at the top of his profession as a dance-band and record-session guitarist when, in the early 1960s, he began playing an uncompromisingly abstract music. As the Joseph Holbrooke Trio, with bassist Gavin Bryars and drummer Tony Oxley, Bailey forged a musical syntax which has since operated as an international counter to the banality of commercialism. Refusing to be labeled a "jazz" guitarist, Bailey has collaborated with performance artists, electronic experimentalists, classical musicians, Zen dancers, tap dancers, rock stars, jazzers, poets, weirdos and an endless stream of fiercely individual musicians. Today his anti-idiom of "Free Improvisation" has become the lingua franca of the "avant" scene, with Pat Metheny, John Zorn, David Sylvian and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore amongst his admirers. Derek Bailey and the Story of Free Improvisation lifts the lid on an artistic ferment which has defied every known law of the music business. Telling the story via taped interviews with Bailey and his cohorts, gig reports and album reviews (including an exhaustive discography of Bailey's vast and hard-to-track output), Ben Watson's spiky, partisan and often very funny biography argues that anyone who thought the avant-garde was dead simply forgot to listen.
    • £15.29
    • RRP £16.99
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  • Jazz Diasporas

    Rashida K. Braggs

    Product Code: AYMOW
    Paperback
    At the close of the Second World War, waves of African American musicians migrated to Paris, eager to thrive in its reinvigorated jazz scene. Jazz Diasporas challenges the notion that Paris was a color-blind paradise for African Americans. On the contrary, musicians adopted a variety of strategies to cope with the cultural and social assumptions that confronted them throughout their careers in Paris, particularly as France became embroiled in struggles over race and identity when colonial conflicts like the Algerian War escalated. Using case studies of prominent musicians and thoughtful analysis of interviews, music, film, and literature, Rashida K. Braggs investigates the impact of this postwar musical migration. She examines key figures including musicians Sidney Bechet, Inez Cavanaugh, and Kenny Clarke and writer and social critic James Baldwin to show how they performed both as artists and as African Americans. Their collaborations with French musicians and critics complicated racial and cultural understandings of who could represent "authentic" jazz and created spaces for shifting racial and national identities-what Braggs terms "jazz diasporas."
    • £24.95
    • RRP £25.00
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  • Jazz

    Stuart Nicholson

    Product Code: AWWKG
    Paperback
    This definitive guide includes a unique chapter-by-chapter playlist for the reader. Jazz: A Beginner's Guide is a lively and highly accessible introduction to a global musical phenomenon. Award-winning music journalist and author Stuart Nicholson takes the reader on an entertaining journey from jazz's early stirrings in America's south through to the present day, when almost every country in the world has its own vibrant jazz scene. En route we meet a host of jazz heroes past and present, from Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Miles Davis, to Keith Jarrett and Kamasi Washington. Each chapter is accompanied by a playlist designed to provide a stimulating and enjoyable entry point to what has been described as the most exciting art form of all.
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • Loft Jazz

    Michael C. Heller

    Product Code: AWNNW
    Paperback
    The New York loft jazz scene of the 1970s was a pivotal period for uncompromising, artist-produced work. Faced with a flagging jazz economy, a group of young avant-garde improvisers chose to eschew the commercial sphere and develop alternative venues in the abandoned factories and warehouses of Lower Manhattan. Loft Jazz provides the first book-length study of this period, tracing its history amid a series of overlapping discourses surrounding collectivism, urban renewal, experimentalist aesthetics, underground archives, and the radical politics of self-determination.
    • £23.99
    • RRP £25.00
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  • Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression

    Richard Havers

    Product Code: ALPSP
    Hardback
    Released to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the coolest and best- known label in jazz, this book celebrates over seven decades of extraordinary music from a company that has stayed true to its founders commitment to Uncompromising Expression. Tracing the evolution of jazz from the boogie- woogie and swing of the 1930s, through bebop, funk and fusion, to the eclectic mix Blue Note releases today, the book also narrates a complex social history from the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany to the developments in music and technology in the late 20th century. Blue Note is not only known as the purveyor of extraordinary jazz but is also famous as an arbiter of cool. The photography of co-founder Francis Wolff and the cover designs of Reid Miles were integral to the labels success and this highly illustrated, landmark publication featuring the very best photographs, covers, and ephemera from the archives, including never-before-published material commemorates Blue Notes momentous contribution to jazz, to art and design as well as to revolutionizing the music business.
    • £40.69
    • RRP £48.00
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  • Verve

    Richard Havers

    Product Code: AIGCF
    Hardback
    Verve: The Sound of America shows how one label changed the course of modern music and brought jazz to the world. The story of Verve Records is the story of jazz. Verve signed practically every major jazz artist of the fifties and sixties and is home to some of the greatest music ever recorded. Norman Granz, the record labels founder, also organised hugely influential, high-profile, racially integrated concerts, first at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and then at venues across America and then around the world. These Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts, and the later tours, had a huge impact in America a country still suffering the injustice and cultural impoverishment of segregation. 2014 will be the 70th anniversary of the first JATP concert and this exhaustive 400-page volume is the ultimate guide to the artists, the music and the locations that made Verve great and jazz cool. Heavily illustrated with both iconic and unseen photographs, classic cover art and ephemera, and insightful timelines and infographics, this is a visually exciting history of jazz and the definitive book on Verve Records.
    • £35.49
    • RRP £45.00
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  • The Chronicle of Jazz

    Mervyn Cooke

    Product Code: AHXUJ
    Hardback
    A year-by-year history of people and events, The Chronicle of Jazz tells the whole story of jazz music and its personalities. Each chronologically arranged section contains special features, on topics ranging from the bossa nova craze to jazz in Paris, personality sketches and seminal gigs and albums. Readers are brought fully up to date with the significant and exciting recent developments in the world of jazz, from the rise of modern big bands and the renaissance of the piano trio to the popular appeal of Jamie Cullum and HBO's television series Treme, set in New Orleans. The Chronicle of Jazz is a celebration of this most imaginative and enduring music, and is a complete resource for both jazz aficionados and lovers of music in general.
    • £24.89
    • RRP £24.95
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  • The History of Jazz

    Ted Gioia

    Product Code: ABRJU
    Paperback
    Ted Gioia's History of Jazz has been universally hailed as a classic--acclaimed by jazz critics and fans around the world. Now Gioia brings his magnificent work completely up-to-date, drawing on the latest research and revisiting virtually every aspect of the music, past and present. Gioia tells the story of jazz as it had never been told before, in a book that brilliantly portrays the legendary jazz players, the breakthrough styles, and the world in which it evolved. Here are the giants of jazz and the great moments of jazz history--Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club, cool jazz greats such as Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, and Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie's advocacy of modern jazz in the 1940s, Miles Davis's 1955 performance at the Newport Jazz Festival, Ornette Coleman's experiments with atonality, Pat Metheny's visionary extension of jazz-rock fusion, the contemporary sounds of Wynton Marsalis, and the post-modernists of the current day. Gioia provides the reader with lively portraits of these and many other great musicians, intertwined with vibrant commentary on the music they created. He also evokes the many worlds of jazz, taking the reader to the swamp lands of the Mississippi Delta, the bawdy houses of New Orleans, the rent parties of Harlem, the speakeasies of Chicago during the Jazz Age, the after hours spots of corrupt Kansas city, the Cotton Club, the Savoy, and the other locales where the history of jazz was made. And as he traces the spread of this protean form, Gioia provides much insight into the social context in which the music was born.
    • £11.29
    • RRP £12.99
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