Understanding Jazz: Ways to Listen
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Product Description

“Jazz is primarily to be heard, to be experienced.”
–Tom Piazza, from the Introduction

Much more than just another history of this vital music and those who play it, Understanding Jazz is a multimedia master class and late-night jam session rolled into one–an indispensable guide to a deeper appreciation of jazz.

Jazz is America’s greatest indigenous art form, a musical hybrid whose origins are as mysterious, complex, and surprising as its evolution has proved to be. Written by Grammy award-winning author Tom Piazza and produced by the experts at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Understanding Jazz uses simple explanations and analogies to illuminate the basics of listening to a jazz performance: how to discern form, instrumentation, style, and intent.

Each of the book’s seven sections focuses on a particular aspect of the jazz vernacular, from the way individual instruments or voices come together yet remain distinct, to the spontaneous miracles of skilled improvisation, to the transcendent rhythmic qualities of swing and the enduring influence of the blues.

Specific points in the text are illustrated and reinforced on the accompanying CD in recordings that capture some of jazz’s most gifted musicians: Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie, among others.

A unique celebration of the influence of jazz on American life, this book and CD are perfect for both jazz enthusiasts and beginning listeners alike, initiating them into the exciting world of this singular style of music.

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