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Experiencing Big Band Jazz: A Listener's Companion by [Sultanof, Jeff]
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Experiencing Big Band Jazz: A Listener's Companion Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 234 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


Big band jazz gets a concise, balanced analysis from Sultanof, a composer-arranger and professor at the Institute of Audio Research in New York City. Sultanof surveys the rise and fall of the music form from its American origins in 1918 through the early 1950s, when the public flocked to dance in packed clubs, to the present day. He examines the bands’ popularity through the lavish venues in which they played, and the arrival of radio, improved sound recordings, and booking agencies that brought talent to wider audiences. Sultan writes enthusiastically about the heralded ensembles and arrangements of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller ('Fred Astaire didn’t make too many records in his incredible career, but his meeting with the Goodman band and the sextet is pure magic,' Sultanof writes about the song 'Just Like Taking Candy from a Baby'). He is especially astute in documenting the well-received bands of World War II, the yearlong musicians’ strike, the singers, the use of foreign rhythms, and the shift to smaller groups. His guide takes readers up through more recent arrangers Gil Evans, Gary McFarland, and Don Sebesky. Sultanof has written a handy, detailed reference for jazz music listeners. (Publishers Weekly)

Sultanof has had a long and distinguished career as composer, arranger, and jazz historian, working with musicians of the caliber of Sonny Rollins and Gerry Mulligan and publishing the arrangements for Miles Davis's legendary 1949–50 Birth of the Cool sessions. Though written for novices, this book will be of value to all lovers of jazz bands, introducing numerous ensembles that may have eluded them. Several of these groups only marginally qualify as jazz, but that's for the good, as styles spread outside of straightforward jazz, and jazz musicians were recruited to play them. Sultanof's choice of songs is tilted toward what's playing on YouTube or Spotify. Thus, readers can listen to cuts while reading about them in the book.... Above all, his knowledge of the band scene from the 1910s to the present is unparalleled. VERDICT This titles should everyone interested in jazz or big bands. (Library Journal)

Experiencing Big Band Jazz fills an important gap in the literature of this rich, wonderful, and unsinkable musical idiom with a thoughtful tour through nearly a century of influential recordings. And here’s the big payoff: With the musical examples readily available online, you can follow along without having to amass a huge record collection! (Ray Hoffman, CEO Radio, WCBS Newsradio 880 New York)

Jeff Sultanof‘s mastery of the history, techniques, and challenges of big band composing and arranging makes this book invaluable to musicians, students, and listeners. He’s a storyteller. This is a fascinating read. (Doug Ramsey, proprietor of the Rifftides blog, author of Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond)

When Jeff Sultanof says that a song is a masterpiece, I trust him. In this age of exaggeration, Sultanof’s critical acumen, growing out of years of what John Dewey called ‘learning by doing,’ has given music lovers a benchmark guide to an unduly neglected genre. (Judith Tick, author of Becoming Ella Fitzgerald, Northeastern University)

About the Author

Jeff Sultanof is a composer, arranger, conductor, writer, and historian of American concert and popular music. His articles are published by,, and the Journal of Jazz Studies (Rutgers University). He is a pioneering editor of vintage jazz ensemble and concert music and has several hundred publications to date under his name. Sultanof has taught at Five Towns College, the Institute of Audio Research, and has lectured extensively on music, the music business, motion pictures, and contemporary educational practices.

Product details

  • File Size: 2101 KB
  • Print Length: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (November 8, 2017)
  • Publication Date: November 8, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0761483FK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #963,297 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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December 10, 2017
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November 24, 2017
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