The Bluffer's Guide to Jazz (Bluffer's Guides) (Bluffer's Guides (Oval)) Paperback – 20 Apr 2007
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No two jazz enthusiasts ever agree about anything. This witty, elegant book, mixing the erudite with the mythical, will bolster spirited disagreements for many years to come. --Alyn Shipton, Writer, Critic And Presenter, BBC Radio 3 S Jazz Record Requests
Hilarious! I m insisting all my civilian friends read this as soon as possible! --Claire Martin OBE, Jazz Singer and Presenter, BBC Radio 3 S Jazz Line-Up --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Paul Barnes took up the trumpet aged 11, and while at art school he played in the Weary City Stompers (WC, for short). He has worked as a presenter on BBC Radio 4 s Today, The World at One and Woman s Hour, among others, and continues to dispense his blend of rhythm and rhubarb weekly some say weakly on the BBC radio jazz and blues programme The Late Paul Barnes. Peter Gammond Peter Gammond was an infant prodigy, playing the gramophone at the age of three and revealing a natural winding action that was the admiration of all who beheld it. He is now acknowledged as one of the country s leading gramophone players, as well as the author of an excessive number of books on music. Most of them have been compiled from the bits that zealous editors removed from earlier ones. Thus there is a remarkable uniformity about his work (something that has not escaped his critics). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Jazz is perhaps an awkward subject as there are so many points of view and jazz enthusiasts are notorious for forcibly expressing differing opinions, but in ebullient manner this is immediately accepted by writers Paul Barnes and Peter Gammond. Ostensibly they seek to equip readers with both a whole vocabulary and a variety of techniques to ensure they can pass as experienced and knowledgeable jazz aficionados. In addition to `tongue in cheek', witty, lampooning style similar to that adopted for entertaining magazine articles there are sections where the authors clearly set out to mislead or enrage readers by introducing erroneous statements and expressing contradictory judgements.
This is all fine and the writing is full of witticisms and humour, but `The Bluffer's Guide to Jazz' also incorporates serious issues and is brimming with facts. In its small form within only a few pages the guide does justice for jazz. The contents span the origins of jazz, early influences, how the music flourished and developed, the huge range of jazz types and many of the key players and groups, with notes on their instruments and line-ups. All is presented in an innocently mocking manner, and towards the end there are suggestions on what jazz pieces and albums readers need to know - but beware of satire. Also there is a glossary of terms that continues the burlesque and caricaturing style to the end. Jazz is an ideal subject for the `bluffer' approach, and `The Bluffer's Guide to Jazz' makes full use of a frivolous style to do justice to what is magnificent musical art in a multitude of forms - viewed so differently by jazz enthusiasts. Readers can go forth and verbally skirmish with the best of them!
As the daughter of a jazz enthusiast, I grew up having to suffer endless car journeys with jazz as the only soundtrack. As a child and in my teens, I couldn't bear it. But in recent years I have started to appreciate this genre, something that pleases my dad immensely and as a result, he burns jazz CDs for me at any given opportunity. That's why I jumped at the opportunity to learn a bit more about this type of music, which started in dive bars but that somehow is now considered a rather elitist interest.
I found the first couple of chapters of this Bluffer's Guide, which detail the origins of jazz, the most interesting. The book then introduces the most important musicians, grouped by type of instruments - horns, piano, etc. After a while, I must confess that I began to lose interest, because, not knowing really who's who apart from a few names such Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, David Brubeck - all from my father's extensive collection - I found it hard to relate to what I was reading. Towards the end of the book I started to skim through, until I reached the very entertaining (and probably very useful for bluffing purposes) glossary at the end.
The `angle' of the Bluffer's Guides is always a humorous, light-hearted one. Those people who complain that this book doesn't go into enough depth are missing the point. However, I would have liked a few introductory lines on how to understand some of the best-known tunes, to learn to `decode' some of the music terminology associated with this apparently impenetrable genre. But maybe that's a job best saved for something like Jazz For Dummies (2Nd Edition) - which might be my next read. And that's why I never regret reading a `Bluffer's Guide' - I always come out feeling that I've learned something, and I am always left wanting to know just a little bit more.
The book is very well written with a wonderful sense of humour, though the humour is mostly aimed at people already familiar with Jazz music and Jazz practitioners. Indeed this little book can be very entertaining for Jazz lovers and could even be a great idea for anyone interested in Jazz, provided of course that they have a sense of humour.
However, the big question is whether this little guide can actually help someone to bluff about his knowledge and pretend to be a Jazz expert. If any book can be of use to a Bluffer, then this is a safe choice, but I seriously doubt that any book, even as informative as this one can be a bluffer's tool. Most facts and trivia about Jazz history and practice are really complicated, obscure and even made up, so in a sense Jazz is a bluffers paradise anyway. On the other hand Jazz is all about the sounds, melody and even specific recordings. Jazz lovers can spend hours listening to a record, arguing which recording it is, who plays what, the date and place of the recording, and under which circumstances each recording was made. I have been listening to Jazz all my life and I still cannot always tell recording from recording, or who plays this or that instrument, and I am certain that a book won't help anyone bluff about this kind of practical knowledge.
I was given a free copy by the publisher, but that did not influence my opinion in any way.
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Most recent customer reviews
Good book for anyone who is interested in Jazz... or indeed any type of music. I would therefore highly recommend this book to all of you out there xxx
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