Thomas Owens

Thomas’s Contributions

December 1998    Books

The Culture of Spontaneity: Improvisation and the Arts in Postwar America
Peter Belgrad

Belgrad posits as his central thesis that “a will to explore and record the spontaneous creative act” characterized the American avant garde during the 1940s and 1950s,a time when “corporate liberalism” dominated mainstream arts. He applies this thesis to...

October 1998    Books

Jazz, a Century of Change: Readings and New Essays
Lewis Porter

This book appeared in print before Porter’s Coltrane study (see the June issue of JT) but arrived for review only recently. Though it is not the monument of scholarship represented in the Coltrane book, it is a fine addition to the ever-expanding library...


June 1998    Books

John Coltrane: His Life & Music
Lewis Porter

The wonderful collaborative effort, John Coltrane, a Discography and Musical Biography, appeared in 1995 (reviewed in JazzTimes, June 1997). Now Lewis Porter, one of those collaborators, has written another winner, one that supersedes all previous Coltrane...

April 1998    Books

The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History
Scott DeVeaux

Recently several superb books about jazz have appeared—Paul Berliner’s Thinking in Jazz, Barry Kernfeld’s What to Listen for in Jazz, Fujioka’s collaborative Coltrane discography, and a few others. Scott DeVeaux’s newest book definitely belongs on that list...


March 1998    Books

Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra
John F. Szwed

John Szwed’s new book on Sun Ra (1914-93) is a welcome addition to the literature of jazz. Based on interviews with family members and musical associates, and upon a thorough examination of Sun Ra articles and interviews, it is a wealth of information, and...


June 1997    Books

John Coltrane: A Discography and Musical Biography
Yasuhiro Fujioka, with Lewis Porter and Yoh-ichi Hamada

Though these three books center on players whose lives and music are interconnected in various ways, they are dramatically different in focus and style. The first is a discography, the second a detailed tour through a man’s philosophy and music, the third...

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About Thomas Owens