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Recommended Jazz Books

Recommended Jazz Books

Some of the most interesting Jazz Books: biographies, methods, theory books... Enjoy

Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk

The first full biography of legendary jazz musician Thelonious Monk, written by a brilliant historian, with full access to the family's archives and with dozens of interviews. Now updated with an afterword for Monk’s 2017 centennial. Thelonious Monk is the critically acclaimed, gripping saga of an artist’s struggle to “make it” without compromising his musical vision. It is a story that, like its subject, reflects the tidal ebbs and flows of American history in the twentieth century.

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John Coltrane

John Coltrane

John Coltrane was a key figure in jazz, a pioneer in world music, and an intensely emotional force whose following continues to grow.
This new biography, the first by a professional jazz scholar and performer, presents a huge amount of never-before-published material, including interviews with Coltrane, photos, genealogical documents, and innovative musical analysis that offers a fresh view of Coltrane's genius.

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Miles Davis

Miles Davis

Miles: The Autobiography, like Miles himself, holds nothing back. He speaks frankly and openly about his drug problem and how he overcame it. He condemns the racism he encountered in the music business and in American society generally.
And he discusses the women in his life. But above all, Miles talks about music and musicians, including the legends he has played with over the years: Bird, Dizzy, Monk, Trane, Mingus, and many others.

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Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life

Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life

Born in 1901 to the sixteen-year-old daughter of a slave, he came of age among the prostitutes, pimps, and rag-and-bone merchants of New Orleans. He married four times and enjoyed countless romantic involvements in and around his marriages. A believer in marijuana for the head and laxatives for the bowels, he was also a prolific diarist and correspondent, a devoted friend to celebrities from Bing Crosby to Ella Fitzgerald, a perceptive social observer, and, in his later years, an international goodwill ambassador.

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Letters From The Road - Wynton Marsalis

Letters From The Road - Wynton Marsalis

This is a unique book, in which a great artist offers his personal thoughts, both on jazz and on how to live a better, more original, productive, and meaningful life. To a Young Jazz Musician is sure to be treasured by readers young and old, musicians, lovers of music, and anyone interested in being mentored by one of America’s most influential, generous, and talented artists.

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The High Life.. - Charlie Parker

The High Life.. - Charlie Parker

Bird Lives! - The High Life And Hard Times Of Charlie (Yardbird) Parker is the vivid biography of a musical genius and a symbol of an age. He was the very embodiment of jazz. This work on Charlie Bird Parker offers a picture of not only of the saxophonist-composer as an artist and as a human being, but also of zeitgeist and the musical/social setting that produced him. It shows his complex personality; his great appetites; the extent of his influence; and his work.

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How Jazz Can Change Your Life - W. Marsalis

How Jazz Can Change Your Life - W. Marsalis

How Jazz Can Change Your Life - Wynton Marsalis. In this beautiful book, Pulitzer Prize—winning musician and composer Wynton Marsalis draws upon lessons he’s learned from a lifetime in jazz–lessons that can help us all move to higher ground. With wit and candor he demystifies the music that is the birthright of every American and demonstrates how a real understanding of the central idea of jazz–the unique balance between self-expression and sacrifice for the common good exemplified on the bandstand–can enrich every aspect of our lives, from the bedroom to the boardroom, from the schoolroom to City Hall.

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Bill Evans - Everythings Happens To Me

Bill Evans - Everythings Happens To Me

A Grammy winner and pioneer of multi-track jazz recording, Bill Evans was the pianist on Miles Davis' classic Kind of Blue album and a key figure in the development of modern jazz piano. This new Backbeat book details his wide-ranging and absorbing career, from freelance work in the 1950s, through his groundbreaking trios and solo releases, to his relationships with various record labels, to the intense final phase before his death in 1980. Printed on top-quality stock, the book includes fantastic full-page photos throughout, and a special color section.

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A New History Of Jazz - Alyn Shipton

A New History Of Jazz - Alyn Shipton

A marvelously balanced yet passionate history of a protean cultural form. Not only is the book encyclopedic in the breadth of its coverage, but it has a thesis — or, more accurately, a set of interlocking theses — about how the music has developed.

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Jazz Theory Book -  Mark Levine

Jazz Theory Book - Mark Levine

Endorsed by Jamey Aebersold, James Moody, Dave Liebman, and others, The Jazz Theory Book presents all the information any student of jazz needs in an easy-to-understand, yet thorough, manner. For intermediate to advanced players, and written by one of the acknowledged masters of jazz, it is used by universities around the world. Very comprehensive material and present extremely well and progressively. I have bought a number of different books on this topic and this is one of the best.

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Jazz Singers Handbook - Michele Weir

Jazz Singers Handbook - Michele Weir

The Jazz Singer's Handbook provides an inspiring and practical window of insight into the world of professional jazz singing. Drawing upon an impressive career as an arranger, teacher, singer, pianist, and clinician, Michele Weir (faculty, UCLA) has distilled her experiences and observations into two handbook sections: the artistry and the mastery of singing jazz. Also included is a jazz chord library, a professional resource guide, a review of music fundamentals, and an index of terms and symbols.

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Vocal Improvisation - Michele Weir

Vocal Improvisation - Michele Weir

Vocal Improvisation is designed for individual jazz singers, classroom students, and teachers of vocal jazz. The exercises are appropriate for all levels of experience and can also be useful to instrumentalists for developing jazz articulation and learning to better connect what they hear to what they play. The chapters on jazz theory and keyboard, as well as the glossary and selected solos for transcribing section make this publication an excellent resource of information for any jazz musician.

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The Jazz Piano Book

The Jazz Piano Book

Endorsed by Kenny Barron, Jamey Aebersold, Richie Beirach, and more, this book presents all the information a student of jazz piano needs in an easy-to-understand, yet thorough, manner. For intermediate to advanced pianists, written by one of the acknowledged masters of jazz piano playing. I tandem with Levine's "Jazz Theory" book, this massive tome is a perfect Bible for beginner-to-intermediate jazz pianists. It gets you from theory to polychords, builds off of voicings and stylings by artists like Mulgrew Miller, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Keith Jarrett and more, and approaches everything in bite-sized chunks that you can practice and build off of.

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Hal Leonard Real Book

Hal Leonard Real Book

(Fake Book). A unique, comprehensive collection of jazz material in a wide range of styles, with no song duplication from The Ultimate Jazz Fake Book. Includes: Over 500 songs in all jazz styles, including standards, bebop, Latin, fusion, etc. A great deal of original material associated with major artists. Hard-to-find modern jazz repertoire. Songs which have never before appeared in print. Lyrics for all selections. Easy-to-read music typography. A songwriter index for reference Selections represent a diverse list of major jazz artists, including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Bix Beiderbecke, Dave Brubeck, Billy Childs, Nat King Cole, John Coltrane, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, AL DiMeola, Billy Eckstine, Duke Ellington, Peter Erskine, Kevin Eubanks, Bill Evans...

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The Life and Genius of Art Tatum

The Life and Genius of Art Tatum

Art Tatum defined the limits of the possible in jazz piano. Gunther Schuller called Tatum's playing "a marvel of perfection.... His deep-in-the-keys full piano sonority, the tone and touch control in pyrotechnical passages...are miracles of performance." Whitney Balliett wrote "no pianist has ever hit notes more beautifully. Each one--no matter how fast the tempo--was light and complete and resonant, like the letters on a finely printed page." His famous runs have been compared to the arc left against the night sky by a Fourth-of-July sparkler. And to have heard him play, one musician said, "was as awe-inspiring as to have seen the Grand Canyon or Halley's Comet." Now, in Too Marvelous For Words, James Lester provides the first full-length biography of the greatest virtuoso performer in the history of jazz. Before this volume, little was known about Tatum, even among jazz afficionados. What were his origins, who taught him and who provided early pianistic influences, how did he break into the jazz field, what role did he play in the development of other jazz players, and what was he like when he wasn't playing?

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The Jazz Standards

The Jazz Standards

The Jazz Standards, a comprehensive guide to the most important jazz compositions, is a unique resource, a browser's companion, and an invaluable introduction to the art form. This essential book for music lovers tells the story of more than 250 key jazz songs, and includes a listening guide to more than 2,000 recordings. Many books recommend jazz CDs or discuss musicians and styles, but this is the first to tell the story of the songs themselves. The fan who wants to know more about a jazz song heard at the club or on the radio will find this book indispensable. Musicians who play these songs night after night now have a handy guide, outlining their history and significance and telling how they have been performed by different generations of jazz artists. Students learning about jazz standards now have a complete reference work for all of these cornerstones of the repertoire.

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Ron Carter: Building Jazz Bass Lines

Ron Carter: Building Jazz Bass Lines

In this book/online audio access pack, bass legend Ron Carter illustrates step by step the basic concepts of creating bass lines; constructing lines using non-harmonic tones and diverse rhythms; playing in fast tempos; and developing tone and pitch. Includes online audio access using the unique code printed in the book with an all-star rhythm section and isolated bass parts, so players can listen to Ron play the sample written lines, practice them with the audio tracks, then create their own lines with the guitar, piano and drums backing them up.

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Ray Brown's Bass Method

Ray Brown's Bass Method

(Bass Instruction). Legendary jazz bassist Ray Brown reveals his lessons and teaching philosophy in this in-depth book. Includes: solo exercises and arpeggios; music fundamentals; right- and left-hand positions; scales; chords; exercises in tenths; rhythm patterns with "drops"; diminished chords; runs and variations; blues patterns; extension scales; and much more.

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Chet Baker: His life and music

Chet Baker: His life and music

Finally: the ultimate revised, updated and expanded edition Chet Baker was a star at 23 years old, winning the polls of America’s leading magazines. But much of his later life was overshadowed by his drug use and problems with the law. ‘Chet Baker / His life and music’ was Baker’s first biography, published a year after Baker’s passing in 1988. It was available in five languages. Now finally, here is Jeroen de Valk’s thoroughly updated and expanded edition. De Valk spoke to Baker himself, his friends and colleagues, the police inspector who investigated his death and many others. He read virtually every relevant word that was ever published about Chet and listened to every recording; issued or unissued. The result of all this is a book which clears up quite a few misunderstandings. For Chet was not the ‘washed-up’ musician as portrayed in the ‘documentary’ Let’s Get Lost. His death was not thát mysterious. According to De Valk, Chet was first of all an incredible improviser; someone who could invent endless streams of melody.

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Ben Webster: His Life and Music

Ben Webster: His Life and Music

An anecdotal portrait of the jazz saxophonist begins with the transport of his great-great-grandmother as a slave from Guinea to Kentucky in the early nineteenth century and continues through the donation of his instrument to the Institute of Jazz Studies after his death. Original.

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Up Till Now - 2005
Just Us - 2010 by Aimee Nolte & Hideaki Tokunaga