Jeff Waggoner

Jeff’s Contributions


December 2006    Books

Django: The Life And Music Of A Gypsy Legend
Michael Dregni

The excellent biography of Django by Michael Dregni has been released in paperback, so jazz-guitar fans who haven’t read it yet have no excuse for not devouring it posthaste. This tightly written, slim volume won’t be the definitive word on Django (which...


December 2003    Books

Myself Among Others
George Wein and Nate Chinen

Two Jewish kids born a year apart nearly 80 years ago-one in Boston the other in Brooklyn-decided to make jazz their lives: one became an impresario, the other a maestro. The impresario became a leading figure in jazz and popular music, forever changing...


May 2002    Books

You Can’t Steal a Gift—Dizzy, Clark, Milt and Nat
Gene Lees

Even though Gene Lees wasn’t present at the creation of jazz, he knew most its originators, and there are few chroniclers of jazz left who can say that. One of them, Nat Hentoff, writes in the foreword of Lee’s latest book, You Can’t Steal a Gift: Dizzy...


December 2001    Books

If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery
Farah Jasmine Griffin

With so many bone-dry books on jazz printed daily, Farah Jasmine Griffin’s paean to Billie Holiday arrives like the aroma of gardenia. Griffin, an English professor at the University of Pennsylvania, makes no claim that her book If You Can’t Be Free, Be...


September 2001    Books

Jazz in the Bittersweet Blues of Life
Wynton Marsalis and Carl Vigeland

Wynton Marsalis is the Martha Stewart of jazz. He does it all: virtuoso trumpeter in classical and jazz, award-winning composer, bandleader, director and co-founder of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, teacher, broadcaster, pitchman for Movado watches...


September 2001    Books

Miles Davis and American Culture
Gerald Early

Were he still alive, Miles Davis would have been 75 this past May 26. The occasion has sparked something of a mini-retrospective of the seminal trumpeter and co-founder of three schools of jazz—cool, hard bop and fusion. Today, though, the bone pickers aren’t...


June 2001    Books

The King of All, Sir Duke
Peter Lavezzoli

Peter Lavezzoli’s book The King of All, Sir Duke is a labor of love. The problem is that there is a lot of love here, but not much labor. Among the author’s several premises, there are two that stand out. One is unassailable: Duke Ellington was a highly...


May 2001    Books

The Art Pepper Companion: Writings on a Jazz Original
Todd Selbert

Todd Selbert, the editor of a valuable new collection of 30 short pieces about Art Pepper, suggests in his introduction that the best written companion to Pepper’s music is Straight Life: The Story of Art Pepper. That’s the late, great altoist’s searingly...

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About Jeff Waggoner