The New York Times Essential Library: Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings

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9780805070682: The New York Times Essential Library: Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings

A connoisseur's tour through the great American art form

A Love Supreme. Miles Ahead. Brubeck Time. Yardbird Suite. The Sidewinder. For newcomers just beginning their library of recordings, and for longtime fans looking to deepen their understanding, New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff offers an assertive, deeply knowledgeable collector's guide, full of opinions and insights on the one hundred greatest recorded works of jazz.

From the rare early recordings of Louis Armstrong, through Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman's seminal Carnegie Hall concert, and the lions of the bebop era, to the transformative Miles Davis and several less-canonized artists, such as Chano Pozo, Jimmy Giuffre, and Greg Osby, who have made equally significant contributions, Ratliff places each recording in the greater context and explains its importance in the development of the form. Taken together, these original essays add up to a brief history of jazz, highlighting milestone events, legendary players, critical trends, and artistic breakthroughs.

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About the Author:

Ben Ratliff is the jazz critic at The New York Times. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two sons.

From Library Journal:

Ratliff, a music critic for the New York Times, presents essays on what he considers the 100 most important jazz recordings. In each, he discusses a recording's merits and shortcomings and includes a list of its performers. He seems to address the younger or potential jazz fan; otherwise, how could one explain his comparisons of mid-20th century jazz performances to those of Nirvana and Sonic Youth? Straight and to the point, Ratliff acts as an advocate for what he sees as a popular art form in need of an infusion of interest. This informative book is heavy on obvious albums by Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and Charlie Parker, but the inclusion of Jeanne Lee, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, "Baby Face" Willette, and present-day phenomenon Jason Moran illustrates Ratliff's catholic view of the jazz genre. Also included is a list (title, main performer, date, and record label information only) of a second 100 recordings. This might not be a book that jazz fans will buy for their personal libraries-they have probably already formed their own tastes and list of favorites-but as a guide for the uninitiated it is essential for academic music libraries and public libraries large and small. It would also be most useful for collection development librarians building a well-rounded jazz CD collection.
James E. Perone, Mt. Union Coll., Alliance, OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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