Visions of Jazz

Visions of Jazz : The First Century

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Poised to become a jazz classic, Gary Giddins' Visions of Jazz: The First Century contains no fewer than 78 chapters illuminating the lives of virtually all major figures in jazz history.
From Louis Armstrong's renegade style trumpet playing to Frank Sinatra's intimate crooning, jazz critic Gary Giddins continually astonishes us with his unparalleled insight. In just a few lines, he captures the essence of Louis Armstrong, "He could telegraph with a growl or a rolling of his eyes his independence, confidence, and security. As the embodiment of jazz, he made jazz the embodiment of the individual." Giddins maintains, contrary to the opinion of most jazz enthusiasts, that
Armstrongs voice was as much an integral part of creating jazz singing as his trumpet was to creating jazz. Perhaps the most remarkable chapters in the book are those that do pay tribute to the great jazz singers. Billie Holiday profoundly impacted music history, and Giddins eloquently honors her "gutted
voice, drawled phrasing, and wayworn features." Many artists, such as Irving Berlin and Rosemary Clooney, have been traditionally dismissed by fans and critics as merely popular derivatives of true jazz. Giddins finally opens the doors of jazz to include these musicians. In addition to this, he devotes an entire quarter of this volume to young, active jazz artists. No other book has so boldly expanded the horizon of jazz and its influences.
Visions of Jazz is an evocative journey through the first one hundred years of jazz that will captivate-and challenge-musicians, music critics, and music lovers.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 702 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 46mm | 1,022g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • musical examples
  • 0195132416
  • 9780195132410
  • 558,646

Table of contents

Part One: Precursors
1: Bert Williams/Al Jolson (Native Wits)
2: Hank Jones/Charlie Haden (Come Sunday)
3: Louis Armstrong/Mills Brothers (Signifying)
4: W.C. Handy (Birth of the Blues)
5: Irving Berlin (Ragging the Alley)
6: Spencer Williams (The Bard of Basin Street)
7: Ethel Waters (The Mother of Us All)
8: Bunk Johnson/George Lewis (Pithecanthropus Jazzman)
Part Two: A New Music
9: Jelly Roll Morton (Red Hot Dandy)
10: King Oliver (Working Man Blues)
11: Louis Armstrong (The Once and Future King)
12: Duke Ellington (Part 1: The Poker Game)
13: Coleman Hawkins (Patriarch)
14: Pee Wee Russell (Seer)
15: Chick Webb (King of the Savoy)
16: Fats Waller (Comedy Tonight)
Part Three: A Popular Music
17: Benny Goodman (The Mirror of Swing)
18: Jimmie Lunceford (For Listeners, Too)
19: Count Basie/Lester Young (Westward Ho! and Back)
20: Jimmy Rushing (Swinging the Blues)
21: Roy Eldridge (Jazz)
22: Ella Fitzgerald (Joy)
23: Artie Shaw (Cinderella's Last Stand)
24: Budd Johnson (Chameleon)
25: Bobby Hackett (Muzak Man)
26: Frank SInatra (The Ultimate in Theater)
Part Four: A Modern Music
27: Duke Ellington (Part 2: The Enlightenment)
28: Billy Strayhorn (Passion FLower)
29: Spike Jones (Chasin' the Birdaphone)
30: Charlie Parker (Flying Home)
31: Dizzy Gillespie (The Coup and After)
32: Sarah Vaughan (Divine)
33: Thelonious Monk (Rhythm-a-ning)
34: Bud Powell (Strictly Confidential)
35: Chico O'Farrill (North of the Border)
36: Stan Kenton (Big)
37: Dexter Gordon (Resurgence)
Part Five: A Mainstream Music
38: Miles Davis (Kinds of Blues)
39: Gerry Mulligan (Beyond Cool)
40: Art Blakey (Jazz Messenger)
41: Billie Holiday (Lady of Pain)
42: Modern Jazz Quartet (The First Forty Years)
43: Nat King Cole (The Comeback King)
44: Stan Getz (Seasons)
45: Sonny Rollins (The Muse is Heard)
46: Dinah Washington (The Queen)
47: Rahsaan Roland Kirk (One-Man Band)
Part Six: An Alternative Music
48: Art Tatum (Sui Generis)
49: Charles Mingus (Bigger Than Death)
50: Cecil Taylor (Outer Curve)
51: Ornette Coleman (This is Our Music)
52: John Coltrane (Metamorphosis)
53: Duke Ellington (Part 3: At then Pulpit)
54: Muhal Richard Abrams (Meet This Composer)
55: Roscoe Mitchell/Marty Ehrlich (The Audience)
56: Henry Threadgill (The Big Top)
57: Charles Gayle/David S. Ware/Matthew Shipp (Sweet Agony)
Part Seven:A Struggling Music
58: Hannibal Peterson (Out of Africa)
59: Jimmy Rowles (The Late Hurrah)
60: John Carter (American Echoes)
61: Dee Dee Bridgewater (Back Home Again)
62: Julius Hemphill (Gotham's Minstrel)
63: Don Pullen (Last Connections)
64: Gary Bartz (The Middle Passage)
65: David Murray (Profuse)
66: Dave Burrell (Brotherly Love)
67: Abbey Lincoln (Strong Wind Blowing)
Part Eight: A Traditional Music
68: Randy Weston (Afrobeats)
69: Rosemary Clooney (Going Her Way)
70: Joe Henderson (Tributes)
71: Tommy Flanagan (Standards and Practices)
72: Joe Lovano (The Long Apprenticeship)
73: Geri Allen/Jacky Terrasson (The Parameters of Hip)
74: Joshua Redman (Tenor of the Times)
75: Stephen Scott (Taking Time)
76: James Carter (All of the Above)
77: Louis Armstrong/Nicholas Payton (Interpreted)
78: Cassandra Wilson (A Different Songbook)
79: Don Byron (Musically Correct)
Index of Names
Index of Songs and Selected Albums
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Review quote

This gigantic book of 79 essays amounts ... to a grand, brilliant history of the most American of arts. * The New York Times Book Review *
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About Gary Giddins

Gary Giddins is the jazz critic for the Village Voice. Two of his previous books, Riding on a Blue Note and Rhythm-a-ning, are available from Oxford.
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Rating details

339 ratings
4.21 out of 5 stars
5 40% (137)
4 44% (148)
3 14% (47)
2 1% (5)
1 1% (2)
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