100 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Shop Costumes Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums All-New Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote Grocery Introducing Handmade New Kitchen Scale from AmazonBasics Amazon Gift Card Offer redoaks redoaks redoaks  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 Kindle Voyage UnchartedBundle Shop Now STEM Toys & Games

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $39.95
  • Save: $11.14 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Oxford Companion to J... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Crease in spine & light scratches in cover; small stain at LR corner of text; please note that this book has a small inventory sticker for FBA on the back side that may not come off easily
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Oxford Companion to Jazz (Oxford Companions) Paperback – July 14, 2005

10 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$27.29 $7.60

The Beach Boys by Johnny Morgan
"The Beach Boys" by Johnny Morgan
The first fully illustrated, in-depth examination of "The Beach Boys" comprising more than 150 images, classic and rarely published photographs, album artwork, and archive memorabilia. Learn more | See related books
$28.81 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Oxford Companion to Jazz (Oxford Companions)
  • +
  • Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta
Total price: $40.59
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This new collection of 60 essays surveys the entire history of jazz and purports to contain "a thoroughness found in no other single jazz reference." The essays, written by 59 current jazz performers, writers, and scholars, are much longer than the typical Oxford Companion entry. The average length is 13 pages, although the range is anywhere from 7 to 22 pages. There is one black-and-white photograph per article. The essays provide overviews of different styles and periods. Other topics include the roots of jazz, biographies of performers, examinations of individual jazz instruments, an analysis of the impact of jazz on American culture, and a discussion of jazz outside the U.S. Arrangement is loosely chronological.

Does this volume rival the 1,358-page New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (1988) for the title of "most comprehensive dictionary of jazz ever published"? Possibly. Although the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz is arguably more reference-friendly because of its alphabetical arrangement and see also references, the Oxford book has an excellent index. However, because of the essay format, it is sometimes difficult to find information on a specific performer or term. For this reason, some libraries may wish to consider putting this volume in the circulating rather than in the reference collection.

The scope of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and the Oxford Companion to Jazz is similar, although Grove offers unique, unparalleled coverage of jazz nightclubs, festivals, and libraries and archives with significant jazz collections. Unlike Grove, which provides bibliographies and selected recordings at the end of individual entries, Oxford only offers a selected bibliography at the back of the book and an "Index of Songs and Recordings" to facilitate finding where a song is discussed in an essay.

Though Grove was reprinted in 1994, it was not updated. The Oxford book includes a greater number of recent jazz artists. In an informal search for 27 current jazz artists, 50 percent of them were mentioned in Oxford, while only 25 percent were found in Grove. For example, Grove appears to exclude drummers Joey Baron and Dennis Chambers, trumpeter Dave Douglas, and more-mainstream musicians like Joshua Redman and Jo Lovano, all of whom are mentioned in Oxford. Some of the current artists also appear in another Oxford publication, Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz (1999).

Libraries with a jazz collection will find this new volume a welcome addition, whether its purpose is to act as a reference resource or provide insightful stack reading. According to Kirchner, the intended audience is everyone, from novices to seasoned jazz aficionados; the book does indeed have a wide range of appeal. Some of the essays are downright scholarly, while others are less erudite in tone (though not in content). Recommended for all university, college, and public libraries with patrons interested in jazz. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Despite the wide range, the focus is clear--the unique American sound of jazz and those giants most closely associated with its creation and production."--Jeff Waggoner, The New York Times Book Review

"This book contains a collection of some of the very best writing available concerning jazz."--Lee Bash, Jazz Educators Journal

"A milestone among publications dedicated to jazz."--Francesco Martinelli, Musica Jazz (Italy)

"More than a treatise on jazz, this book is a compilation of articles on all phases of the music, contributed by musicians and professional writers who speak for the art firsthand. Highly recommended for everyone interested in jazz."--the late Benny Carter

See all Editorial Reviews

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Companions
  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (July 14, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195183592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195183597
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 2.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Somewhere on earth there is probably a jazz musician who does not know Bill Kirchner. But he or she must be in deep cover; Kirchner is known and esteemed by jazz people all over the U.S. and abroad. Oxford could not have chosen a better editor for this compact but wide-ranging volume than Kirchner: composer, arranger, saxophonist, historian, record and radio producer, educator, leader of the Bill Kirchner Nonet, and all around class act. The book begins with an astute pairing of historical essays -- Samuel A. Floyd Jr.'s "African Roots of Jazz" and William H. Youngren's "European Roots of Jazz" -- and with vigor and style takes it from there. This is not a mechanical or academic collection. Rather it reflects the savvy, open-mindedness, erudition, and general panache of its editor's musical intelligence. Like the finest of the big bands, the result is unique, quirky, highly flavored and accented -- and not to be missed!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Lauren S. Kahn on March 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OK, I will be up front about this: Bill Kirchner is married to my sister. So, I am biased. He is a very nice guy and my sister is nice too. I wouldn't harm them.
Having said that, my sister (who is also a musician) may be married to the author but I know very little about jazz. I fall into the category of people who have heard about the major musicians but really do not understand improvisation; I can't read music. So, I bought this book as a family obligation and with some trepidation.
Wow! This, I can read! The articles are well written and even a jazz ignoramus like me can understand most of them. If you are a novice as I am, you will learn a lot and also be able to understand more of what you are hearing when you listen to the music. I know I want to buy more DVD's--including Bill Kirchner's, of course.
For those of you who know jazz, I am certain that some of the articles in this comprehensive book will tell you things that you never knew. Others will enhance what you already knew. This book should be in everyone's history library--and not just in the libraries of jazz fanatics--because jazz is the gift America has given to the music world and is synthesized from contributions by many of our immigrant groups.
Enjoy and listen up!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ben Sonnenberg on September 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
This a valuable book. How could it not be with more than 800 pages and contributions from such exemplary jazz writers as Gunther Schuler and Dan Morgenstern? But how much better a guide it would be if it also included articles by our best jazz critic, Gary Giddins. I strongly recommend Giddins's Weather Bird and Duke Ellington as supplements to this volume.

Ben Sonnenberg, New York
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Mckee on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This gets three stars due to its lack of material dealing with the current scene. The stuff on the fifties and and earlier is the main focus of this book, with some excellent discussion of particular players. It is Amerocentric, I guess thats understandable as jazz is an American idiom, but there is a lot of great jazz in Europe and Japan too.

Perhaps a better title woudl have been "The Oxford Companion to classic American Jazz."
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Sedensky TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You've bought a bunch of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis recordings, and you've listened to them over and over. You've taken some classes on arranging and improvisation at the local community college. You've honed your chops in a local band or two, maybe even performing on a regular basis. Or maybe, you haven't done anything except become interested in jazz and now you're just naturally curious and inquisitive about it. Maybe you just feel that a broader knowledge of jazz music would help you enjoy it more, so you want to understand: how did jazz get from where it started to where it is today? What musicians played with what other musicians and how did their styles emerge and evolve? How did rags become swing, become be-bop, become post-bop, become free, become modern? What record producers signed which artists and what songs became "standards" and when? In other words, you want to understand jazz history, beginning to end. In that case, this is the book for you.

This book is around 800 pages divided into about 75 different chapters (essays). Each chapter is accompanied by a storied black-and-white photo of a piece of the subject matter, the photos by themself being intriguing and worthwhile. (1,000 words each?) The text covers the history of jazz, more or less chronologically, from its inception up to about the year 2000. It contains many of the stories and anecdotes that most jazz musicians will be familiar with from reading CD liner notes and Googling or Wiki-ing things they were curious about when they heard them, but it will also relate much more back story and lines of interconnectedness that may have been missed along the way.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Oxford Companion to Jazz (Oxford Companions)
This item: The Oxford Companion to Jazz (Oxford Companions)
Price: $28.81
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: jazz art