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18 Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best book for the novice, March 16, 2004
By 
J. Janssen (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz (Paperback)
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,... Read more

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a Page Turner, but a Good Overview, January 31, 2006
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This review is from: Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz (Paperback)
I'd actually give this 3 and a half stars, sort of a C+ in my opinion. Anyway- I've learned a lot from this book and use it more as a reference material than as a "can't wait to read more" type of thing. The author sometimes is a little circular in his opinions too- especially when he tries to define Jazz or a given era. Plus, with something like this, it almost screams for a companion sampler CD, or a publishers website or something. Many times he refers the reader to hard to find or out of print CDs/records (for instance making use of Smithsonian recordings which are not easy to get). On the other hand, I have made a good list of recordings and artists I haven't heard yet, and I feel like I listen with a much more educated ear now- even though I've been a big fan of Jazz for many years. So- it's recommended, but be prepared to do some home work along side the reading in order to actually hear what the book is discussing.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Revealed, April 9, 2014
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This review is from: Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz (Paperback)
All the questions you've asked about what, when, who wrote and performed,where are answered in this very compact and readable book.

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