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A Century Of Jazz by Roy Carr

As we zoom with increasing speed toward the end of the present millennium, it is only to be expected that we will see a directly proportionate increase in the number of books written on the theme of 20th century artistic achievements, in general, and jazz, in particular. Anticipating that flow, Roy Carr has prepared an entry level primer on the history of jazz, from its origins in New Orleans to its multi-faceted present day diversity. This one, however, differs from most histories in being directed largely toward pictorial and graphic enticements rather than ponderous scholarship. A 9.5″ x 11.5″ coffee-table attention-grabber, the book is especially notable for its 350 illustrations, of which 200 are reproduced in striking color. This attractive eye candy consists of artist and band photos, record labels and album covers, advertisements and posters, film stills and postage stamps, and other relevant memorabilia, all of which are linked by an ongoing historical narrative. Carr wrote by far the major part of the text but he also relied on the expertise of Richard Cook, Fred Dellar, Neil Slaven and four others for some of the sub-chapters. All in all, it promises to make an appropriate and welcomed Christmas gift for visually oriented jazz collectors, whether seasoned or blossoming.

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