A serviceable but skimpy look at ten musicians, composers, and arrangers who have achieved legendary status in the world of...

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AMERICAN JAZZ MUSICIANS

A serviceable but skimpy look at ten musicians, composers, and arrangers who have achieved legendary status in the world of jazz, anchored by substantial endnotes, a big bibliography, and an annotated selected discography. In this entry in the Collective Biographies series, the order is roughly chronological, beginning with Scott Joplin, ending with Wynton Marsalis, and in between covering the growth of swing, be-bop, cool jazz, and more through the careers of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and others. The comments about the music are vague--ragtime is characterized as ""white music played black""--but the careful recital of sometimes-contradictory biographical details includes marriages, addictions, honors, and a selection of musical collaborations, personal quirks, nicknames, and such broadly significant incidents as Louis Armstrong's pioneering appearance in a Bing Crosby film and Duke Ellington's refusal to play before a segregated audience. None of the information here is new or original--readers won't get anything like a wide-angle view of this distinctively American music--but this volume, as with Carlotta Hacker's Great African, Americans in Jazz(1997, not reviewed), is a place to start.

Pub Date: July 1, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Enslow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998