This heavily illustrated volume chronicles the history of jazz and blues from their roots to the present day. In the introduction, jazz author and journalist Mandel explains that the book's intention is not to provide an exhaustive history; rather, he and the authors, drawn primarily from music journalism, hope that the selected eras and performers represent the breadth of styles and stories that make up jazz and blues. There is coverage of hundreds of musicians, ranging from blues guitarist Daddy Stovepipe, born in 1867, to jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, born in 1966.
Aside from the opening chapter, which discusses the "early years," from the late 1890s through the 1910s, and the final one, focusing on contemporary musicians from the 1990s through today, the book is arranged chronologically into chapters representing one decade each. Each chapter begins with a one-page overview of culture and music during that decade and then treats jazz and blues histories separately. The authors include a detailed look at prominent musical styles and important events, several pages featuring the top four or five artists of the decade, and brief entries on other important musicians. Each chapter also features "WWW Track boxes" offering URLs linking to MP3 audio files. A general index, as well as separate indexes for jazz and blues musicians, is included, as are a glossary and several pages describing the equipment and instruments typically used by jazz and blues artists.
Although there are more in-depth reference sources, such as The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (Grove, 2002) and All Music Guide to the Blues (Backbeat Books, 2003), this volume's extensive collection of photos, links to audio files, and inclusion of some of today's younger artists, such as Diana Krall and Nora Jones, make it a worthy supplement to other works. Public and undergraduate libraries as well as individual jazz and blues enthusiasts will find this as a welcome addition to their collections. Steven York
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About the Author
, general editor,
contributes to Down Beat magazine
and produces arts features for National
Public Radio. The author of How Miles
Davis, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor
Revolutionized the World of Jazz and
, he lives in New York City.
A distinguished team of eleven US and
UK authorities contributed to this book.