Books on Jazz

NeverEnoughMoneyNeverEnoughMoney 300 Posts
edited December 2005 in Strut Central
I'm trying to compile a list of items I'd like for the holidays to make life easier on my family and friends. Everyone is always telling me I am too hard to shop for, so I'm making it easy.Except, I'm not entirely sure what I want (I don't want to make the list esoteric by asking for vinyl or anything of the sort).I pretty much grab all my books from the library, so I figured I should request some books that aren't readily available at the library. Can anyone recommend some good books to ask for? I'd really like to get a few great books on jazz/jazz biographies.Anyone know anything about "Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest" by Eric Nisenson?I definitely want to grab a good Coltrane one.
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  • DubiousDubious 1,865 Posts
    As Serious As Your Life

  • Mike_BellMike_Bell 5,736 Posts

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    The only one that I can think of.

    You can purchase that book here

  • There are some great bios out there on Sun Ra (Space Is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra ) , Rahsaan Roland Kirk (Bright Moments: The Life and Legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk) , a bunch on Miles and Trane, a good one about Chet Baker (Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker ) from last year. 'Straight Life' by Art Pepper is amazing and I believe still in print.

  • FatbackFatback 6,746 Posts
    Anyone know anything about "Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest" by Eric Nisenson?

    that's a turd of a book.

    i go for the one's written by the artists. might not be the best writers, but i like.






  • Black Nationalism and the Revolution in Music, which is sold under this title now:



    also, I heartily endorse Beneath the Underdog.

  • I've got a couple:

    - there's a new edition out of Robert Gottlieb's "Reading Jazz"...good mix of essays/interviews/crit spanning about 70 years.




    - if there's a art/design side to you, you might like this book on modernism in jazz and how it's reflected in modern art/design..."Jazz Modernism" by Alfred Appel, Jr. I just picked this up the other day, haven't started it yet so can't say much more than that about it, but looks good.




    - can't go wrong with Nat Hentoff, especially "The Jazz Life"...




    - if you want to check out fiction or essays that are jazz-centered, check out "Another Country" by James Baldwin, or there's a collection of Ralph Ellison's jazz writings out now:


  • Birdman9Birdman9 5,417 Posts

    Anyone know anything about "Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest" by Eric Nisenson?


    Yes, that's a very compelling read, IMO. Not so much of a biography, but more of a critical history of the musical transitions/progressions of his career. Recommended.

    Also great is AB Spellman's Four Lives in the BeBop Business
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0879100427/qid=1134664665/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/103-4923779-6919000?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

    also sometimes shows up w/ the title "Black Music:Four Lives in the BeBop Business"

    perhaps the best overall portrait of the varied lives of the jazz musician (features chapters on Cecil Taylor/Herbie Nichols/Jackie McClean/Ornette Coleman).

    Also check for this book:

    Cookin': Hard Bop and Soul Jazz, 1954-65
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1841952397/qid=1134664893/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-4923779-6919000?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

    great short chapters on the critical figures of Hard Bop. Nothing here is very much in-depth like you get with biographies like "Bright Moments" or "Space is the Place", but if you enjoy jazz from 1955-1967, this has good info on most all the key players of the hard bop and soul jazz movements. Great reading, and a nice reference book.

  • Anyone know anything about "Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest" by Eric Nisenson?

    that's a turd of a book.

    i go for the one's written by the artists. might not be the best writers, but i like.




    The Mingus book is

    And of course, one of the all-time classics of the genre is:


  • gloomgloom 2,765 Posts



  • Giant Steps bebop and the creators of modern jazz 1945-1965 Kenny Mathieson
    Cookin' harp bop and soul jazz 1954-1965 Kenny Mathieson
    Hard Bop jazz & black music 1955-1965 David Rosenthal
    Dance of the Infidels a portrait of bud powell Frances Paudras
    The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the 60s Leonard Feather

  • Yes the Mingus book is great and I also enjoyed _Raise Up Off Me: A Portrait of Hampton Hawes

  • Notes and Tones by Arthur Taylor. One of the very very best and absolutely indispensable.

  • I second the Sun Ra book.


  • Notes and Tones by Arthur Taylor. One of the very very best and absolutely indispensable.

    Wow, this is one is really great and it also reminds me that I used to own this and now have no idea where it is. People need to stop stealing my shit!



  • And of course, one of the all-time classics of the genre is:


    That book is some funny shit, I'm reading it right now. More motherfuckers than Scarface. Good stuff.

    SONIC

  • Slightly off-topic but has anyone read this?


  • pointmanpointman 1,042 Posts
    James Baldwin


    His story Sonny's Blues always blew me away, especially the ending.

  • Orrin Keepnews, "A View From Within", is out of print but one of the if not the best books I've ever read on jazz... literally, a view from within as he describes working with Monk, Miles, Bill Evans, etc etc etc from the producer's perspective.

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    I second the Sun Ra book.



  • rogbrogb 172 Posts
    Notes and Tones by Arthur Taylor. One of the very very best and absolutely indispensable.

    thats a good one right thur.


    If youre looking for a coffee book-just for lookin kinda book then:


    THE ENCYCLOPEDIA of JAZZ & BLUES by Keith Shadwickk is nice.

    http://images.amazon.com/images/P/078581762X.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

  • Does anyone own the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD? Is it any good (or are any of these similar jazz guides worth it?). Is there something like it for jazz on vinyl? Answer me batches!!!

  • Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD?

  • batmonbatmon 27,574 Posts
    Does anyone own the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD? Is it any good (or are any of these similar jazz guides worth it?). Is there something like it for jazz on vinyl? Answer me batches!!!

    I own 2 all-music guides for jazz. I find them informative but some of the critiques are

  • roistoroisto 852 Posts
    I second the Sun Ra book.



    Yes!

    Also:

    A.B. Spellman: Black Music, Four Lives (this came out under another title as well)
    Ian Carr: Miles Davis
    Ashley Kahn: A Love Supreme


  • A.B. Spellman: Black Music, Four Lives (this came out under another title as well)

    Also great is AB Spellman's Four Lives in the BeBop Business
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0879100427/qid=1134664665/sr=1-2/ref=sr_1_2/103-4923779-6919000?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

    also sometimes shows up w/ the title "Black Music:Four Lives in the BeBop Business"

    perhaps the best overall portrait of the varied lives of the jazz musician (features chapters on Cecil Taylor/Herbie Nichols/Jackie McClean/Ornette Coleman).



  • Does anyone own the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD? Is it any good (or are any of these similar jazz guides worth it?). Is there something like it for jazz on vinyl? Answer me batches!!!

    I found this reference guide extremely useful for older, straight-ahead jazz. Cross referencing players was a serious past time for a while there. I always found that the thing veered away from useful though for music after the sixties or so, and they have very little respect for much of the beat-ladden jazz that would eventually be sampled.

    Here's another one if you are interested in some older "hipster" trad knowledge.
    The whole thing is viper mad man!
    And the writing style used is a world unto itself...


  • girgir 329 Posts
    I second the Sun Ra book.



    just finished it.

  • roistoroisto 852 Posts
    As Serious As Your Life

    This is a great book indeed.

  • m_dejeanm_dejean 2,945 Posts
    A lot of good suggestions in thread, can't think of any heavy ones right now that haven't already been mentioned.



    This is a very good coffee-table book, that I bought on sale recently:







    It's light reading and very far from being in-depth, but the 400+ full-color illustrations make it a must-have purchase for a meager 25$ or less. Tons of high quality record cover/label scans, press fotos, movie posters, magazine ads and so on relating to jazz, blues and soul artists from 1930-1975. I'd call it a picture book with extended captions.



    You can get it here for 10$.

  • gravelheadwrapgravelheadwrap corn 948 Posts
    James Baldwin


    His story Sonny's Blues always blew me away, especially the ending.


    yes!
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