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Books

The latest words on jazz, evaluated by critics who understand the power of jazz writing.

Billie Holiday at Sugar Hill by Jerry Dantzic & Grayson Dantzic

Back in 1957, Decca Records assigned photojournalist Jerry Dantzic to photograph Billie Holiday for an album cover (see The Blues Are Brewin’), and Dantzic opted to go to Newark, N.J., where Holiday was scheduled to perform at the jazz club Sugar Hill. Holiday was only in her early 40s, and less than two years later … Read MoreBillie Holiday at Sugar Hill by Jerry Dantzic & Grayson Dantzic”

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Message to Our Folks: The Art Ensemble of Chicago by Paul Steinbeck

With its multifaceted radicalism, the Art Ensemble of Chicago occupies a singular niche in the American music timeline. That creative audacity could be found in the array of sounds the band generated, the philosophical and aesthetic underpinnings of those sounds, the virtuoso instrumentalism of its members, the self-reliant business model by which it operated and … Read MoreMessage to Our Folks: The Art Ensemble of Chicago by Paul Steinbeck”

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Book Review: Jim Marshall’s Jazz Festival

Jazz Festival (Reel Press), a stunning book of photographs by Jim Marshall, follows previous compilations of his work including not fade Away and Jazz. Featuring more than 300 images, most of them taken at the Monterey Jazz Festival during 1960-1966 (as well as one chapter of shots from Newport Jazz in 1963), it’s well designed … Read More “Book Review: Jim Marshall’s Jazz Festival

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Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth by Josef Woodard

Josef Woodard’s Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth is an unauthorized biography. But it’s hard to imagine any authorized volume providing richer perspectives on one of jazz’s living visionaries. A longtime contributor to a broad range of publications (including JazzTimes), Woodard grew up and lives in Santa Barbara, Calif. This brought him into the orbit … Read More “Charles Lloyd: A Wild, Blatant Truth by Josef Woodard”

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Microgroove: Forays Into Other Music by John Corbett

John Corbett’s Microgroove: Forays Into Other Music is a sprawling meander through the multi-tiered world of “alternative” musics, encompassing jazz, rock, blues, avant-classical and literary and visual art forms whose materials and methods comment on aspects of musicality. The far-ranging scope of the 53 essays and interviews collected in these nearly 500 pages, dating from … Read More “Microgroove: Forays Into Other Music by John Corbett”

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Playboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music, by Patty Farmer

Playboy impresario Hugh Hefner, an important advocate for jazz through his magazine, festival, nightclubs, TV show, compilations and books, died on Sept. 27 at his iconic home, the Playboy Mansion, at age 91. A terrific account of Hefner’s contributions to jazz culture can be found in Patty Farmer’s 2015 book, Playboy Swings, the JT review of … Read MorePlayboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music, by Patty Farmer”

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Listen to This: Miles Davis and Bitches Brew by Victor Svorinch

It is surprising that Victor Svorinich’s Listen to This: Miles Davis and Bitches Brew is the first full-length book devoted to examining the 1970 double-album that set the trumpeter on a electrified path from which he never wavered until his death in 1991. Fortunately, Kean University music instructor Svorinich, whose previous work has examined electric … Read MoreListen to This: Miles Davis and Bitches Brew by Victor Svorinch”

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