Most helpful positive review
76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
A perfect book for novices and veterans alike
on January 22, 2001
Those who really want an excellent book on the history of jazz should eschew Ken Burns' incomplete doorstop of a picture book and turn to John F. Szwed's compact and comprehensive volume. In only a little over 300 pages, Szwed succinctly and skilfully covers the entire spectrum of jazz, offering the reader everything and looking askance at nothing. Though opinionated at times (and who could not be, writing a book of this sort), Szwed is never judgmental, and his knowledge of the field and its many aspects is broad and sweeping without seeming superficial. And please note that this isn't just a book for jazz newbies -- I've been a jazz fan for many years, with a huge collection of records, CDs and books, and I still learned a lot. Szwed's illuminative sidebars on individual songs and albums had me pulling out some old favorites and hearing them with fresh ears. This volume belongs on the shelf of every jazz buff.