Exhilarating and exciting, subtle and profound-jazz requires
knowledge and understanding to be truly appreciated. Barry Kernfeld
here provides a thorough, learned, and accessible introduction to
jazz, discussing its musical concepts, procedures, and styles and
providing the background necessary to fully enjoy this musical art.
The book is organized around twenty-one historical jazz
recordings-from the New Orleans Rhythm Kings' Tin Roof
Blues (1923) to Ornette Coleman's Honeymooners
(1987)-that are analyzed in the text and included in a compact disc
that accompanies the book.
Barry Kernfeld draws from these musical works to illustrate jazz
rhythm, forms, arrangement, composition, improvisation, style, and
sound (recording fidelity, tuning systems, instrumentation, and
timbre). Included in the book are eighty-five notated music
examples keyed to the compact disc and a biographical dictionary of
musicians who figure prominently on the disc.
By laying out musical ideas that unify the genre, rather than by
splintering it along stylistic lines, this authoritative book
offers a new method for enhancing enjoyment and understanding of
jazz. It will be a valued resource for students and general
listeners who wish to know more about this unique musical
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