4.11 (173 ratings by Goodreads)
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In this vivid history of jazz, a respected critic and a leading scholar capture the excitement of America's unique music with intellectual bite, unprecedented insight, and the passion of unabashed fans. They explain what jazz is, where it came from, and who created it and why, all within the broader context of American life and culture. Emphasizing its African American roots, Jazz traces the history of the music over the last hundred years. From ragtime and blues to the international craze for swing, from the heated protests of the avant-garde to the radical diversity of today's artists, Jazz describes the travails and triumphs of musical innovators struggling for work, respect, and cultural acceptance set against the backdrop of American history, commerce, and politics. With vibrant photographs by legendary jazz chronicler Herman Leonard, Jazz is also an arresting visual history of a century of music.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 720 pages
  • 154.94 x 241.3 x 40.64mm | 1,179.33g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 38 photos
  • 0393068617
  • 9780393068610
  • 167,472

Review quote

"This is without a doubt one of the best books on jazz ever written. Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux have achieved a monumental feat by creating a history of jazz that will appeal to academicians and aficionados alike. Thoroughly researched and carefully documented, yet written in an entertaining and enjoyable narrative style, this is truly a book for jazz lovers of all backgrounds. By telling the story of jazz in its full cultural, musical, political, social, economic, and historical context, Giddins and DeVeaux have given us one hell of a kick-ass book!" -- David Baker, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Jazz Department, Indiana University "This extraordinary book is the one we've been waiting for-an exhaustive, multi-disciplinary, judiciously crafted history of jazz and its culture. It is sure to become the industry standard, cherished by students as well as aficionados, who may dispute its judgments but will surely keep it close at hand as an essential reference." -- Krin Gabbard, author of Hotter Than That: The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture "In an innovative departure from previous approaches to the history of American Jazz, this eagerly awaited new text by Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux offers a unique combination of cutting-edge historical scholarship and experienced journalistic perspectives. This book is destined to become an important resource, one that confronts crucially important musical and social issues in depth-and with passion." -- George E. Lewis, Case Professor of American Music, Columbia University, and author of A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music "Like no other history, Jazz involves the reader right from the start in an active listening role. The parsing of the selected recordings is brilliantly done, and this feature alone makes the book a must, for beginners and seasoned fans. But there's much more, all imbued with the coauthors' love for and understanding of the music, in all its many facets-and as a living, still evolving language." -- Dan Morgenstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, and author of Living with Jazz "Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux's Jazz cuts through the gibberish, racial politics, and ideology that typify so much of contemporary jazz criticism. This excellent book, which not only addresses musical theory but provides insight into the history of the art as well, will serve the general reader but can also be used to stimulate discussion groups and jazz workshops." -- Ishmael Reed, author of Mixing It Up: Taking On the Media Bullies and Other Reflections "Giddins is without question the most persuasive literary stylist current working in jazz criticism-no writer has ever written about Louis Armstrong with such vividness, or about Cecil Taylor with such sympathy and analytical insight. DeVeaux provides academic clout and formal rigor, bringing to bear a strong foundation in musicological methodology." -- Time Out New York "Starred Review. There are numerous histories of jazz on the market, but renowned cirtic Giddins and scholar DeVeaux's offering jumps immediately to the top of the list." -- Booklist
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About Gary Giddins

Gary Giddins is the Executive Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the City University of New York. He was the Village Voice jazz columnist for over 30 years and remains a preeminent jazz critic who received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award, and the Bell Atlantic Award for Visions of Jazz: The First Century in 1998. His other books include Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams: The Early Years, 1903-1940, which won the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award and the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Sound Research; Weatherbird: Jazz at the Dawn of Its Second Century; Faces in the Crowd; Natural Selection; Warning Shadows; and biographies of Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. He has won an unparalleled six ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Peabody Award in Broadcasting. Scott DeVeaux is a nationally recognized jazz scholar whose 1997 book The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History won the American Book Award, an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, the Otto Kinkeldey Award from the American Musicological Society, and the ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Sound Research. He has taught jazz history at the University of Virginia for more than 25 years.
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Rating details

173 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 35% (61)
4 47% (81)
3 13% (23)
2 3% (6)
1 1% (2)
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