Gitler is very much in on the music scene, and has worked with many of the jazzmen he writes about. (He also hosts New York's highbrow WBAI Saturday afternoon jazz show, which features live comment from musical celebrities, the best jazz show extant.) The present volume is quite up to standard for this valuable series; the Twenties and Fifties are also out, with the Twenties the most richly written. Diz and Bird dominate the new book, though heroin is an equally powerful influence. Giant after giant debilitates his genius and goes to an early grave while contributing to the ""high"" insights of the new jazz called bop. Though none of these musicians has a kind word for heroin, Gitler suggests that it did open new doors of musical perception. Birdland and 52nd Street are the main scene, with distant rumblings of World War II. A couple of famous recording sessions marked by bad tempers are reported firsthand. The book's only unkind comment is directed at Kerouac's ""misguided"" enthusiasm while its most brilliant sketch is of Bud Powell's mental disturbances. We read this with anticipation and were not disappointed; it's a good, honest survey, conscientious, not literary, with a storehouse of revealing anecdotes.