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Getting All the Pieces to Fit: The Making of a Jazz Encyclopedia

Getting All the Pieces to Fit

By the time you read this you well could be looking up someone in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, but as I’m starting to write this I’m about to read S to Z for the last time before the book goes into its final configuration. This is the sprint at the end of a maxi-marathon that began in the earliest years of this decade when Leonard Feather and I signed a contract with Oxford University Press.

I had been Leonard’s chief assistant when he began the whole Encyclopedia of Jazz thing for Horizon Press in 1954 and was with him through all the editions (save one of the two “yearbooks”) right through to The Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies, for which I became co-author.

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