The Jazz Heritage

The Jazz Heritage

4 (2 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$25.00

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


The Washington Post has called Martin Williams "the most knowledgeable, open-minded, and perceptive American jazz critic today," and countless others share that sentiment. To Gary Giddins of the Village Voice he is "one of the most distinguished critics (of anything) this country has ever produced: and Nat Hentoff has observed, "Martin Williams persistently gets at essences, and that is why he has contributed so much to the very small body of authentic jazz criticism." A companion volume to his seminal, prizewinning The Jazz Tradition, this book is divided into four sections. The opening part is a collection of reviews and critiques of figures as diverse as Fats Waller and Count Basie, Bud Powell and Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald and the World Saxophone Quartet. The second section shows us musicians at work during rehearsals, recording dates, nightclub performances; these include Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and Ornette Coleman. In a rare feature for a book on jazz, the third section brings together some of Williams's "liner notes"--record annotations from outstanding LP albums by musicians from Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver through Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins, and including Cecil Taylor. In the last section, Williams discusses some of the pboblems jazz has encountered as it has acquired intellectual and academic status, and there are some provocative comments on the black contribution to American musical theatre and whether or not the United States has a true folk music.About the Author: Martin Williams is the author of Where's the Melody?, Griffith: First Artist of the Movies, and TV: The Casual Art. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Village Voice, High Fidelity, Evergreen Review, Kulchur, Saturday Review, and The New York more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 144 x 212 x 28mm | 498.95g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • forms transparencies
  • 0195036115
  • 9780195036114

Review Text

In this companion volume to The Jazz Tradition, Williams collects a variety of his critical pieces, including short reviews and essays (some updated) on various jazz greats, ringside portraits of recording and rehearsal sessions and album-liner note "annotations." The pieces vary in length, approach and technicality, but the end result is a fascinating education for the jazz fan about the legacy and recordings of early jazz giants like Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Charlie Parker, as well as the contributions of more contemporary greats like Basic, Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis. Williams offers a knowledgeably critical but unjaundiced view in his attempt to reach certain truths about this genuinely American musical idiom: that he (and many colleagues) regard Ellington as America's greatest composer; that the assimilation of others' work and honest dedication to a personal vision creates the great jazz artist; that the phonograph as messenger and the influence of "Afro-American" heritage have both had an incalculable effect on the genre; that great discipline is essential to the art of improvisation. He covers a grab bag of interesting nuances, and a great range of artists who collaborate, admire and emulate as they stretch the boundaries of their art. He traces the origin of boogie-woogie, explores the problems of "third streamers" who attempt to mix jazz and classics, and even suggests that Mick Jagger's emulation of Southern black sound reflects a new generation of symbolic "blackface." We are even treated to the legendary pianist Bill Evans' view on the art of Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis on Louis Armstrong, and Jelly Role on himself. A rich pastiche that will delight jazz fans. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 100% (2)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X