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Jazz greats books?

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Hi all, started learning to to play tenor 3-4 months ago and I'm now on a quest to learn more about some of the great musicians of years gone by as well as the music.

My album collection is growing monthly as I'm on a quest to listen to as many artists as possible, I also draw inspiration from visiting the clubs like pizza express (soho), 606 club almost once a month but now find myself wanting to know more about the individuals of days gone by.

So I'd like to find out if there are any STAND out auto-biography or otherwise about some of the greats!

I'm particularly taken with the sound of Stan Getz at the moment so that would be a good place to start if there is any material available?

Appreciate any help that can be given.

Rgds Lee.
 

MMM

Senior Member
Messages
914
Ones that come to mind: Art Pepper's "Straight Life " and Mingus' "Beneath the underdog" , great books which give you some insight on a musician's life in the US.
 

O.C.V.

Member
Messages
113
Try pretty well anything by Gene Lees. Great writer with a knack of really getting close to his subject. I would recommend: Leader of the Band ( biog of Woody Herman), Meet me at Jim and Andy's, Waiting for Dizzy. Also excellent are Bill Crow's Jazz Anecdotes, and From Birdland to Broadway.
Happy reading,
O.C.V.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Agree Gene Lees. I mentioned on another thread recently the two biogs of Lester Young. That by Douglas Daniels is good on history and dates, but not so hot on musical analysis, being written very much from a political standpoint. The other, by Lewis Porter, may be better on the musical achievement.

A more general book, Alyn Shipton's New History of Jazz is a superb, well researched survey covering from jazz precursors to more or less the present. Includes thumbnail sketches of many jazz greats and anecdotes along the way. He puts forward his own views on development of the music and future direction. Worth reading.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,273
Thanks for that YC, iv'e just ordered Alan Shiptons from amazon £11.33 :thumb:
 

DSax

New Member
Messages
4
I read "Bird Lives" by Ross Russell many years ago and seem to remember thinking it was good, I'll have to re-read it now you've reminded me.

When I searched for the book, I found a site birdlives it's a co.uk site but can't post the whole link as I'm new here. That site looks interesting, although slow for me.

Cheers,
DSax
 

spike

Old Indian
Messages
2,262
Quick tour through my bookshelves
Masters of Jazz Saxophone by Dave Gelly - File under Big Coffee Table book - Collection of Articles.
Ornette Coleman - His life and music - Peter Niklas Wilson
Nervous Man Nervous - Big Jay Macneely - by Jim Dawson
Chronicles of King Curtis - by Russel Carpenter
The Devil's Horn - by Michael Segell
And last but not least "The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz" it's expensive, very big and primarily a reference book but it'll keep you happy for hours if not years to come. gruss - spike
 

Greywolf

Member
Messages
59
Jazz Anecdotes - Bill Crow excellent entertainment
Lester Leaps in - Douglas Henry Daniels particularly good if you are fan as I am
A Love Supreme - Ashley Khan a great read about a great composition
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Thanks again for all the suggestions, plenty of titles for me to take a look at!

I had a look at the bird lives site! Very interesting, just spent an hour reading, will return to that latter, thanks.

Rgds Lee.
 

Rico Vandoren

Member
Messages
141
'Straight Life' the biography of Art Pepper is not a comfortable read, but a candid look at the man, his life, and his demons. Also- ' Nobody Else But Me' Dave Gelly's biography of Stan Getz. Both players had serious drug addictions- its a wonder they ever got anything done.
If you haven't added any Getz records to your collection yet, I would recommend it.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Recall being very amused by "We called it music. A generation of jazz." by Eddie Condon.

Ever thought of being so broke that you have to share a pair of patent leather shoes with the drummer as only one foot is visible for each of you?
 
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