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JAZZ 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz Paperback – 1 Nov 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HYPERION (1 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786884967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786884964
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 489,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Jazz has often been called America's only original art form, its classical music, the twentieth-century music par excellence. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Adrian TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the better books about Jazz, especially for a relative novice in the field. The writing may be a little wordy in places (A dictionary has been needed on a least one occasion) but the author has an interesting story to tell and keeps the interest.
If you know the topic well then you may find more specialist titles by chaps like Gridley more useful
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
A perfect book for novices and veterans alike 22 Jan. 2001
By C. Williamson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Those who really want an excellent book on the history of jazz should eschew Ken Burns' incomplete doorstop of a picture book and turn to John F. Szwed's compact and comprehensive volume. In only a little over 300 pages, Szwed succinctly and skilfully covers the entire spectrum of jazz, offering the reader everything and looking askance at nothing. Though opinionated at times (and who could not be, writing a book of this sort), Szwed is never judgmental, and his knowledge of the field and its many aspects is broad and sweeping without seeming superficial. And please note that this isn't just a book for jazz newbies -- I've been a jazz fan for many years, with a huge collection of records, CDs and books, and I still learned a lot. Szwed's illuminative sidebars on individual songs and albums had me pulling out some old favorites and hearing them with fresh ears. This volume belongs on the shelf of every jazz buff.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Best book for the novice 16 Mar. 2004
By J. Janssen - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Szwed's book is aptly titled and provides a fairly comprehensive history of jazz from it's beginnings to the present. He clearly states that no book covering such a diverse genre can escape being incomplete when it comes to recognizing individual artists, nor escape the inevitable opinions and prejudices of diverging thought on direction and contribution. To this end he suceeds handily.

The novice who is interested in jazz, and not yet opinionated enough to have adopted one of the contentious theories of "what jazz is", will find much information on the origins and stylistic forms of jazz music, jazz art and ultimately, jazz life. However, the more seasoned jazz fan might just as easily find himself in mental arguement with the author almost from the git go. This is regretable since it leads to rejection of much of the foundation material important in having a true understanding of the music. To those of us who believe jazz is devinely connected to the blues, much of Szwed's commentary could be viewed as heresy. But, to others who feel jazz includes almost all forms of improvisation the author's keen insite on sociological and twentieth century demographics play particularly well. He goes so far as to dip his toe in the muddy waters of Kenny G's authenticity, though slyly demurs from opining on just what this cretin is actually blowing through his horn (there, I told you jazz opinion can be contentious!). My only criticism of this work is Szwed's listening examples which are carefully detailed and highlighted throughout the book. While they specifically meet the example criteria he is aiming for, many more accessable (read enjoyable) substitutes exist.

All in all, an excellent intro and the best $10 item in the jazz supermarket.
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A very good introduction to Jazz. 13 Oct. 2001
By R. H OAKLEY - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you saw the Ken Burns series on Jazz and wanted to learn more, this book is a great place to start. While it does not pretend to be exhaustive, it covers the history of Jazz from the beginning to the present, without neglecting contemporary artists in the way that Burns' series did. The book also discusses musical issues in a way that the non-muscian can easily understand. This won't be the last book that you will want to read about Jazz, but it should be the first.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Must Read For Musicians 4 Aug. 2001
By "kadbtl" - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a 17 year old high school student, I knew next to nothing about jazz before reading this book. John Szwed did an amazing job introducing such a vast musical genre in a simplistic and thought provoking manor. The history, key players, and different "types" of jazz are all discussed in this book. I honestly could not put it down. A must read for any musician.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
An extremely readable account 26 Aug. 2000
By Mark S. Petrovic - Published on
Format: Paperback
It's been a very long time since I've read a work of nonfiction as readable and lucid as this. Particularly interesting are the discussions of the African origins of the form and its relationship to Western European music. It doesn't take a lot of energy to read this book, but the rewards make it appear so.
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