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Free Jazz (The Roots of Jazz) Paperback – March 22, 1994

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ekkehard Jost is professor of musicology at the University of Giessen in Germany, and has written seven books. He plays baritone and bass saxophone, and bass and contrabass clarinet, and has recorded seven records as leader or co-leader. He is vice president of the Association of Jazz Musicians in Germany, and president of jazz and new music institutes in Hessen and Darmstadt.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Roots of Jazz
  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; First edition (March 22, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306805561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306805561
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book covers the music of Coltrane, Mingus, Ornette, Cecil Taylor, late period Coltrane, Shepp, Ayler, Cherry, AACM, and Sun Ra. It is valuable as an historical text, since Jost gives good outlines of each musician's career (up to 1974, when the book was published). The German author Jost gives in depth descriptions of formal aspects of each musician's work, which is most interesting in the case of the composers whose work extensively involves the working out of musical structures. It is a very rational approach to a very complex subject. At times, I felt that the absence of discussion of political or spiritual aspects of the music was not a good thing, but it seems like Jost's goal was to discuss history and form for the most part. It's a view of Free Music from a Western point of view.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book serves as an excellent survey of free jazz in the 60's. Jost uses plenty of examples and a lots of objectivity to write a book that celebrates the many virtues of this multifaceted genre, while maintaining a realistic perspective. He doesn't hesitate, however, to criticize free musicians where it is due, giving his more frequent positive comments more weight. A must for any student of the avante-garde.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Robinson on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a great book, but, thankfully, it differs from other books on the same topic. This is a fairly in-depth analysis of the musicians' MUSIC. Don't expect long anecdotes about Cecil Taylor's life or John Coltrane's spirituality or about revolutionary politics or whatever. Jost feels that this stuff is abundant in others' books and accounts of the "free" movement, and that it has distracted us from the music itself. That's what I love about this book; the author isn't afraid to dig deep into the music. Also, most of his recorded examples are easy to find (or at least available somewhere). There isn't any of that "one time in 61' I saw Ornette play the harmonica in this pub in sweden and....". This book makes this seemingly difficult music more accessible...check it out.
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Format: Paperback
A great book, but a very specialized one. The author loves and understands this music. But in writing about it, he sticks to a musicologist's perspective. Jost's main focus is, how did these artists construct their music? The political and spiritual dimensions of the music are acknowledged, but treated as secondary. Jost is to be applauded for identifying the most important practitioners (before a canon was in place), and for treating these extraordinary artist's work with careful, sustained analysis -- evidence of care rarely given to this music. If you love free jazz, and have a background in improvisation or composition, this book will make you love and appreciate the music even more.
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