THE SOUND OF SURPRISE: 44 Pieces on Jazz by Whitney Balliett
Kirkus Star

THE SOUND OF SURPRISE: 44 Pieces on Jazz

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An open sesame for the uninitiated listener, a must for the jazz enthusiast, this collection by the jazz critic of the New Yorker Magazine is as lucid as it is stimulating. For those who cannot grasp the jargon of the floating jazz world, who are repelled by the cultish identification with the off-beat and the underground, who ultimately and in self defense consign the serious work of gifted musicians to the scrap heap of faddism, these articles published previously in the New Yorker, the Reporter and the Saturday Review extend an assuring invitation to listen, learn, and appreciate. Free from any partisan dogma-- cool jazz, beebop, progressive jazz-- these essays examine the field of music at hand and the musical intentions of those who created it. Critical, objective, Whitney Balliett approaches his subject with a high degree of literacy and clearheadedness, committed only to the object of appraisal. At times critical, at times enthusiastic, he places no demand on his reader other than interested concentration, a demand which will be well rewarded by a more informed enjoyment of such jazz masters as Ellington, Morton, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis. A unique contribution to the serious library of musical criticism.

Publisher: Dutton