It's been called America's classical music. The infinite art. The heart and soul of all popular music. But whatever the label, jazz has played an immense cultural role worldwide, opening up vast vistas of musical creativity, generating unforgettable performances, and giving us such iconic artists as Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.
Jazz: The First Century marks the passage of the music's first hundred years by bringing together text and art in a rich, illustrated chronicle that opens up the vibrant world of jazz to everyone.
Jazz: The First Century is edited by John Edward Hasse, Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution, leading a writing team of today's finest and most widely respected jazz authorities. Their compelling essays are complemented by an engrossing and sophisticated design packed with more than 300 images, including vintage photographs, sheet music covers, rare album jackets, posters, and more.
From the beginning, jazz offered a new kind of musical expression perfectly suited to the innovation and rapid pace of life in the twentieth century. Jazz: The First Century vividly illuminates the circumstances of the music's birth, examines the contributions of its most consequential musicians, and brings to life its many pleasures, from the emotionalism of early blues and the infectious syncopation of ragtime to the exhilaration of 1930s big-band swing and the awesome musical flights of bebop-from the understated sophistication of cool jazz and the boundless expressiveness of free improvisation to the electrifying power of fusion and the potent grooves of jazz-rap and hip-hop.
In addition, seventy concise sidebars focus on important songs, key landmarks and personalities, and conventions of jazz performance and composition. They also examine the confluence of jazz with radio and television and with such art forms as film, painting, literature, poetry, classical music, and dance.
Here also are hundreds of recommended recordings-selections based on opinions gathered in an international survey of historians, educators, critics, musicians, and broadcasters.
For newcomers and aficionados alike, Jazz: The First Century offers a wealth of enlightening information. It's an essential and comprehensive overview of the music Tony Bennett calls "Amrica's greatest contribution to the world...a celebration of life itself."