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Customer Review

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 Masters of Jazz Piano, 2 Sept. 2006
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This review is from: 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano (Hardcover)
With a chapter each and running to 324 pages, this is one of the best books you can buy on Jazz Piano. The author Robert L Doerschuk is a Jazz pianist himself and writes with authority on his subjects.

Starting with Jelly Roll Morton, though stride (James P Johnson, Fats Waller), Mainstream (Errol Garner Oscar Peterson) and finishing with contemporary artists such as Brad Mehldau and Geoff Keezer all the artists are given a fair analysis. All the main players are covered: Tatum, Powell, Monk, Evans, Brubeck, Tristano, Hancock, Tyner, Jarrett etc.

What I like about this book is that its not all praise. Yes he likes these guys as musicians, but its an honest appraisal, so when he listens to a recording and hears flaws we're told.

For example when writing about Monty Alexander:
"then stumbles moments later with an awkard figuration that disrupts the momentum". Now in fairness to Monty Alexander most of this appraisal was as compared to Oscar Peterson at the height of his powers. But at least its honest and not just blind hero worshipping.

If you're buying this book it'll certainly help if you're a musician, but its not essential, and there is plenty of interesting material here for non-musicians as well. Most noteably a CD with 11 tracks including pianists such as Mary Lou Williams, Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines and Adam Makowicz.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jan 2012 11:20:39 GMT
I'd really confirm that this is an expertly written book for a jazz fan or a musician interested in assessing the main names in jazz piano. As it covers the whole historical range from Jelly Roll Morton to the year 2000, only two Brits make it in there - George Shearing and Marian McPartland - plus other non-Americans like Joe Zawinal, Chucho Valdes and Monty Alexander. Another, interesting but less analytical work is Len Lyons' The Great Jazz Pianists from the 1980s and is mainly interviews, which is fun. Doeschuk has big sections on Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. So I rate this book as best in class that i know about.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2013 16:17:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2013 18:52:40 GMT
I know that some will get elbowed aside, but any comprehensive book on piano jazz that leaves out Hampton Hawes, is unforgivable!
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S J Buck
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Location: Kent, UK

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