By Peter Conners
The term jam band" is used to categorize a type of music that favours improvisation and musicianship over concise riffs, hooks, and traditional songwriting structure. The term also helps define the fiercely dedicated fans of the music as accurately as it does the bands. Much as with the Grateful Dead,the progenitors of the jam band scene,the survival of the scene depends upon a symbiotic relationship with fans. Jam bands nurture a close relationship with their fans, fostered through constant touring and the mutual belief that each performance is a unique, shared event. JAMerica tells the story of the roots, evolution, values, and passion of the jam band scene in the words of those who know it best. Modeling itself on such books as Edie: American Girl by George Plimpton and Jean Stein (an oral history of the life of Edie Sedgewick ) and Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, the book is an oral history of the jam band scene, integrating stories from such bands as the Grateful Dead, Phish, Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, moe., Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, and dozens more. Interviews focus on the history of individual bands and how they communally shaped the larger jam band community, along with songwriting, relationships with fans, business models, and the importance (including the joys and war stories) of touring, including early gigs and venues (e.g. the Wetlands in New York City and the landmark H.O.R.D.E. Festival) that supported the emergence of the jam band scene.
By Michael Streissguth
To millions, he was the rebellious Man in Black, the unabashed patriot, the redeemed Christian-the king of country music. But Johnny Cash (1932-2003) was also an uncertain country boy whose dreams were born in the cotton fields of Arkansas and who struggled his entire life with a guilt-ridden childhood, addictions, and self-doubt. Johnny Cash: The Biography explores many often overlooked aspects of the legend's life and career, uncovering the origins of his songwriting and trademark boom-chicka-boom rhythm and delving into the details of his personal life, including his drug dependency, which dogged him long after many thought he'd beaten it. Scrupulously researched, passionately told, Johnny Cash: The Biography is the unforgettable portrait of an enduring American icon.
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
By Michael Streissguth
On January 13, 1968, Johnny Cash (1932-2003) took the stage at Folsom Prison in Folsom, California. The concert and the live album, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison , propelled him to worldwide superstardom. He reached new audiences, ignited tremendous growth in the country music industry, and connected with fans in a way no other artist has before or since. Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison is a riveting account of that day, what led to it, and what came after. Scrupulously researched, rich with the author's unprecedented access to Folsom Prison's and Columbia Records' archives, illustrated with more than 100 photos, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison shows how Johnny Cash forever became a champion of the downtrodden, as well as one of the more enduring forces in American music.
By Howard Reich, William M. Gaines
Jelly's Blues recounts the tumultuous life of Jelly Roll Morton (ca., 18851941). A virtuoso pianist with a larger-than-life personality, he composed such influential early jazz pieces as "King Porter Stomp" and "New Orleans Blues." However, by the late 1930s, he was nearly forgotten. In 1992, the death of an eccentric memorabilia collector led to the unearthing of a startling archive, revealing Morton to be a much more complex and passionate man than many realized. An especially immediate and visceral look into the jazz worlds of New Orleans and Chicago, Jelly's Blues is a definitive biography, a long overdue look at one of the twentieth century's most important composers.
Jazz And Its Discontents
By Francis Davis
From Frank Sinatra to Sun Ra, from the jazz age to middle age, with thoughts on everything in-between, Francis Davis has been writing about American music and American culture for more than twenty years. His essays have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and the Village Voice among countless other publications from coast to coast. And now, for the first time, here are his most important writings of his impressive career-the quintessential Davis on everything from why Rent set musicals back two decades, to what Ken Burns should have filmed. And Davis's writing is as enjoyable as the music of which he writes. The New York Times Book Review has compared Davis's work to "a well-blown solo."
Jazz In The Bittersweet Blues Of Life
By Carl Vigeland, Wynton Marsalis
The thrill of sitting in a club or concert hall hearing jazz being made is familiar to most fans. But what if you could immerse yourself in the world of the musician, where creating and performing is a profound task, and yet as routine as breathing? When writer Carl Vigeland was invited to tour with Wynton Marsalis and his septet, he was able to do just that. Vigeland's acute observations sweep us into their world as he becomes virtually part of the band. At the same time, Marsalis offers intimate meditations on home, family, creation, and performance- written in the cadence of his inimitable voice. Set on the stage, in the studio, and in great cities and small towns around the world, this richly textured narrative explores how the music is made in America today.
By Bill Cole
Here is the book that distinguished music critic Leonard Feather called a "brilliantly perceptive examination of the forces that shaped Coltrane's brief life." Illustrating the influence of African folklore and spirituality on Coltrane's work and sound, Bill Cole creates an innovative portrait of the legendary tenor saxophonist. With illustrative diagrams, a discography, and more than twenty photographs, this is an essential addition to every jazz fan's library.
Jacqueline Du Pre
By Carol Easton
Carol Easton, who knew Jacqueline du Pré well, draws on this friendship to create a moving and insightful portrait of a singularly complex person. Jacqueline du Pré (the subject of the recent film Hilary and Jackie ) was the music world's "golden girl," with what appeared to many to be a fairytale career and storybook marriage to Daniel Barenboim. But away from her cello, du Pré was achingly human. As a child, she was isolated by her phenomenal talent. As an adult, she was confined to the rarefied, insular concert world. And during the last fifteen years of her life, she lived in the inexorably shrinking world of the invalid, as multiple sclerosis took its toll. The Baltimore Sun said, Carol Easton tells this extraordinary story "with feeling befitting du Pré's own."
By Max Jones
Max Jones, known affectionately as "the Boswell of bebop" ( Time Out ), was famed in England for nearly four decades of insightful, ardent writing on jazz. With this luminous collection of interviews, his work will at last be widely accessible to American readers. Here are the voices of jazz,Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Billie Holiday, and Mary Lou Williams, to name but a few,in conversation with Jones, who could turn a casual chat into an indelible portrait and who gives American readers a view of these musicians they have never had before.
Jazz From The Beginning
By Garvin Bushell
Jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, and bassoonist Garvin Bushell (1902-1991) performed with many of the twentieth century's greatest jazz musicians,from Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, and Cab Calloway to Eric Dolphy, Gil Evans, and John Coltrane,during his remarkable career that spanned from 1916 to the 1980s. Although best known as a jazz soloist and sideman, Bushell also played oboe and bassoon with symphony orchestras and was a highly regarded instructor of woodwinds. In Jazz from the Beginning , Bushell vividly recounts his musical experiences, featuring candid assessments of the legends with whom he performed as well as eye-opening accounts of the early days of jazz and the racism that he encountered on the road. Based on a series of interviews conducted by jazz scholar Mark Tucker, these memoirs provide a colourful account of Bushell's extraordinary life and career as well as an important record of seventy years of America's musical history.
By Will Friedwald
By Grover Sales
Jazz: America's Classical Music is a delightful introduction and guide to this complex and compelling music and to its rich history. In an engaging and conversational style, renowned jazz teacher Grover Sales tells of the lives and music of the greats,Ellington, Tatum, Hawkins, Coltrane, Parker, Hines, Goodman, Armstrong, and many others,with a mix of important facts, fascinating anecdotes, and brilliant interpretations. Illustrated with astonishing photographs of the artists in performance, Jazz: America's Classical Music is a classic text, an ideal book for beginners and an inspiring one for serious students of the art of jazz.
By Valerie Wilmer
Jazz Masters Of The 20s
By Richard Hadlock
The jazz decade saw the emergence of many of the great figures who defined the music for the world: Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Earl Hines, Bix Beiderbecke, Fats Waller, Jack Teagarden, Fletcher Henderson,these giants set the standards for blues singing, big band arrangements, and solo improvisation that are the foundations for jazz. Richard Hadlock has chapters on each, with a discography and descriptions of all the players who made the'20s swing.
By Jay Smith, Len Guttridge
The emergence of Jack Teagarden as an important jazz stylist was a significant feature of the'20s jazz scene. He brought a maturity to the sound of the trombone and until late in his life played with a laconic grace that few, if any, on his instrument have equaled. His collaboration with Louis Armstrong,who rated their musical relationship higher than any he had known,was one of the great partnerships in jazz history. The story of this funny, happy Texan is told with affection and detail in this, the only biography of Jack Teagarden. Obviously a man like Teagarden, with his mastery of his instrument, might have stepped into almost any kind of music and made a career for himself. But one thing this book makes clear is that Jack could not have been any kind of musician except a jazz musician. A jazz musician simply has to make his music and dedicate his life to it, even though he may not tell you (or himself) why he has to. He may not, indeed, even be able to say why, or need to say why. The need is to make music and, necessarily, lead the life that makes that possible. All of which has little or nothing to do with ego or acclaim or money. He needs to give his music to the world and he hopes the world will understand.You will find out about that need in these pages. You will also find plenty of the pranks and boys-will-be-boys anecdotes that seem so prevalent, diverting, and (under the surface) necessary a part of the musical life.",Martin Williams, from his new preface.
The Jazz Years
By Leonard Feather
Jazz Masters Of The 50s
By Joe Goldberg
The fifties, though a quiescent period in many ways, was one of the most fervent decades in jazz history. The landmarks of modern jazz were firmly planted and, it could be argued, nearly all directions the music has taken since then can be charted back to recordings, groups, or individuals from this era. In this series of profiles, Joe Goldberg examines the lives and the music, the crucial events and dominant forces of a decade of great music and conflicting esthetics: Miles Davis's recording of Kind of Blue Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartet Cecil Taylor's percussive keyboard experiments John Coltrane's and Sonny Rollins's marathon saxophone solos MJQ's blending of classical structure and jazz improvisation Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz. From Mingus to Monk to Blakey, it was an age of giants. Perhaps never before or since in jazz history have so many wildly idiosyncratic jazz innovators been contemporaries. Joe Goldberg was there and what his ears heard has become here a lasting music document.
Jazz Masters Of The 30s
By Rex Stewart
This is the only jazz history written by a musician that is not strictly autobiographical. Rex Stewart, who played trumpet and cornet with Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington, knew personally all the giants of jazz in the 1930s and thus his judgments on their achievements come with unique authority and understanding. As a good friend, he never minimizes their foibles yet he writes of them with affection and generosity. Chapters on Fletcher Henderson, Coleman Hawkins, Red Norvo, Art Tatum, Big Sid Catlett, Benny Carter, and Louis Armstrong mix personal anecdotes with critical comments that only a fellow jazz musician could relate. A section on Ellington and the Ellington orchestra profiles Ben Webster, Harry Carney, Tricky Sam Nanton, Barney Bigard, and Duke himself, with whom Rex Stewart was a barber, chef, poker opponent, and third trumpet. Finally, he recounts the stories of legendary jam sessions between Jelly Roll Morton, Willie the Lion Smith, and James P. Johnson, all vying for the unofficial title of king of Harlem stride piano. It was the decade of swing and no one saw it, heard it, or wrote about it better than Rex Stewart.
The Jazz Life
By Nat Hentoff
The last few years have witnessed an enormous resurgence in the popularity of jazz, after some lean times in the sixties when many potential jazz fans turned to rock. Now the pendulum is on the backswing, and vintage and modern jazz as well as "jazz rock" are attracting huge new audiences. One factor involved in the comeback of jazz among blacks and whites alike is the rise of black consciousness, with its search for roots in the American experience. Nat Hentoff's The Jazz Life explores the social, economic, and psychological elements that make up the context of modern jazz. Among the jazz greats whose lives and work are discussed are Count Basie, Charles Mingus, John Lewis, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, and Ornette Coleman. Written with intelligence, passion, and wit, this jazz classic is of immense importance to anyone wanting a better understanding of the jazz,or indeed our American life.