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The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music by Don Micheal Randel

Most of the 6,000 musicians in this reference volume are Western composers of the art-music variety, but sandwiched among them are theorists, educators, and performers. Nearly 300 jazz figures get covered, all but a few with short capsule biographies. Faced with the usual space limitations, editor Randel had tried to be inclusive. Yet the relative lengths of articles-e.g., five columns for Mendelssohn, one for Ellington, a tiny paragraph for James Brown-maintain traditional aesthetic hierarchies.

Jazz aficionados will find The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music valuable mainly as a source of information on classical music. Its low price and one-volume format give it an edge over similar reference sources on the market. The jazz and pop entries provide information available in fuller form elsewhere-dates, career highlights, occasional comments on style or historical importance.

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