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Books about jazz

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This morning I started reading Stanley Crouch's book about Charlie Parker:

Like Dyer says in his intro, it "feels" true even when it isn't.

What are some of your favorite books about jazz?

XB-70 Valkyrie:
I was just about to start such a topic. I am looking for a good, relatively short, single volume history of jazz. I have a bad track record with "History of..." types of books, including Grout (looking for substitute for that one too). I usually get bored and sidetracked into reading another book on my vast unread pile about halfway through. I watched the Ken Burns series, but was very underwhelmed by that and have little interest in the book.

Any suggestions?

Edit: It looks as if But Beautiful might fit the bill?


--- Quote from: XB-70 Valkyrie on September 17, 2015, 11:04:55 AM ---Edit: It looks as if But Beautiful might fit the bill?

--- End quote ---
Sort of, but the book is very impressionistic. It does capture much of the history of jazz, but it does so through short story-essays about 7-8 major figures (Lester Young, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Chet Baker, etc.). And when I say story-essays, I mean a blend of truth and fiction, but the fiction is meant to impart a sense of each musician's personality.

So But Beautiful is more like a historical commentary than a true history. It is very short, which is nice, and it's spectacularly written.

This is pretty good

Miles by Miles Davis and Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus are two great autobiographies.

Ashley Kahn's books about "Kind of Blue", "A Love Supreme" and the Impulse! label are great if you want to get deeper with those albums and the label history.

Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties by Scott Saul is good too.


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