Discussion in 'Music Forums' started by poppachubby, Sep 29, 2013.
I’m reading Gioia’s jazz history now. Fascinating, incredible depth for a relatively short book.
On my short list of favorite music books are a couple of Gioia titles. His history of west coast jazz is great, will send you down a bunch of rabbit holes if you're not already well-versed in west coast/cool jazz.
Even better, I think, is Gioia's very first book, the obscure "Jazz: The Imperfect Art." It's an eccentric essay about the nature of jazz - not for everybody, but I've read it and reread it with pleasure for 30 years. I put it up there with Evan Eisenberg's "The Recording Angel" and this year's "The New Analogue" by Damon Krukowski as great reads that come at music and sound from unusual angles.
A very simple read compared to some of the postings on here already, but ~Vinyl Junkies~.
This right here. ^^ I have several editions are they are (were?) indispensable to me when I was discovering jazz.
Those Penguin guides to Jazz were the bible for us Jazz-Cats back then. Still a nice reference today.
The Penguin Guide to Jazz, 5th edition, is fantastic. What pleased me more though, was when I found a mistake in it. I felt like I had come up a level.
I've kept selected earlier editions, since Morton and Cook would drop out some albums from version to version. I keep a copy of the first in the trunk of my car, for record shopping days.
SPACE IS THE PLACE -- THE LIVES AND TIMES OF SUN RA by John Szwed
I read this book a couple of months ago, actually I read it three times. I just found this book fascinating at every turn.
I think this book has been listed here before but it's such a great explanation of what Sun Ra is all about that anyone with the slightest interest should pick it up.
It's interesting to find out what he was reading, he was a voracious reader at an early age, as this shaped his perception of his world.
His religious beliefs and his views on race relations and politics continued to evolve.
I can relate to his frustration and can see why traveling the spaceways seems like a perfectly good idea.
He was certainly a unique and complex personality and those around him saw the importance of what he was doing and protected him to a certain extent. Members of the Arkestra stayed with him for decades.
The Arkestra was always rehearsing, to the point of absurdity.
And Sun Ra was constantly writing scores.
The evolution of his music, rooted in big band and swing, influenced only by his inner beliefs and musical ideas, was running concurrently with other free jazzer's of the day. But he was doing his own thing.
The very definition of a true maverick.
FREE JAZZ by Ekkehard Jost
I bought this book because it listed most of my favorite artists.
It was written in 1974 which I suspected would lend a certain naivete to the examination.
Coltrane is the central figure in the book, as could be expected.
His name was already known by '58 and for him to embrace "the new thing" gave the scene creditability and lesser known players had something to point to as if to say "see...he gets it!"
Miles, Mingus, Ornette, Cherry, Dolphy, Shepp, Ayler, AACM, Sun Ra...all are covered. Including many more supporting artists that are gems waiting for me to discover.
The author is German which could explain his precise explanations of the evolution of free jazz.
He gets down to the specific part of a specific song where giant steps (pun intended) are taken.
Jost has a way of breaking it down to the molecular level and showing the advancements made, crystalline in his description.
Certainly an academic read but interesting none the less.
It helps if you can read music, I can't, but I muddled through.
I am troubled
By your eyes
I am struck
By the feather
of your soft
The sound of glass
What your eyes fight
Trouble Boys ~The true story of The Replacements~
Been compiling a mental list of my favorite books about the history of radio.
Here's what I have - there are many, many more books on the subject, so this represents what I think are the best.
Erik Barnouw - "A Tower In Babel." Part 1 of his magistral three part history of broadcasting. Returning to this after 30 years, I find it to be as good as I remember it.
Susan Douglas - "Listening In: Radio And The American Imagination."
Jesse Walker - "Rebels On The Air: An Alternate History of Radio In America." What would have happened if we hadn't gone the FCC route?
Marc Fisher - "Something In The Air." A great one volume history that fills in the gap between, roughly, the end of Barnouw and the current Radio 2.0 era. Includes the best coverage of underground FM, the origins of NPR, early satellite radio.
Matthew Lasar - "Radio 2.0: Uploading The First Broadcast Medium." The first big catch-up on modern day radio/audio, written for a general audience. Excellent.
not on the list because they're a bit too specialized, but worth a read:
Christopher Sterling - "Sounds of Change: A history of FM Broadcasting in America."
John N. Anderson - "Radio's Digital Dilemma: Broadcasting In The 21st Century." Excellent analysis of HD radio's struggles. Written before the company backing HD radio changed hands (twice) but worth the read anyway. Two cautions: either rent the book for Kindle or get it from your library. It's stupidly expensive to buy. Second, it's a very readable book except for the introduction/1st chapter, which is written in stilted academic prose. Get past it and you've got a valuable resource.
Anybody got a book to contribute?
Let me highly recommend his Miles Davis and Billie Holiday books as well.
Cold electric music
Rend my mind
w/your dark slumber
Cold temple of steel
Cold minds alive
on the strangled shore
Veterans of foreign wars
We are soldiers of
Rock & Roll Wars
Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties By Scott Saul
How is this?
Working on it now, I'll tell you about this latter.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PUNK
By Brian Cogan
A musician friend of mine gave me this incredible A to Z encyclopedia of punk and it's various offshoots.
Covers the movers and shakers of the punk world from musicians to zine writers to club owners and promotors.
There's not much left out here, local scenes, band connections, rivalries, and back stories.
And beautiful full color illustrations on every eye popping page.
The writing is very engaging and includes discographies, dates and stand out releases. My only complaint would be not much for album cover art but that can be found in other books. A real fun read!
Separate names with a comma.