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Understanding Jazz

Piazza, Tom

14 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1400063698 / ISBN 13: 9781400063697
Published by Random House Inc, NY, 2005
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From On The Road Books (Waynesboro, PA, U.S.A.)

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Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

201pp with Index. Cream/white cloth .Stated 1st Ed. with complete number line. Tight, square, bright copy. No remainder mark. No internal notes, names, markings. Crisp, unclipped DJ in Mylar cover. Photo illus in B&W. CD in pocket at rear of book - Unplayed. 7 cuts - Armstrong to Stitt. Bookseller Inventory # 14921

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Understanding Jazz

Publisher: Random House Inc, NY

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Cloth

Illustrator: Photo Illus in b&w

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition

Book Type: Music

About this title


“Jazz is primarily to be heard, to be experienced.”
–Tom Piazza, from the Introduction

Much more than just another history of this vital music and those who play it, Understanding Jazz is a multimedia master class and late-night jam session rolled into one–an indispensable guide to a deeper appreciation of jazz.

Jazz is America’s greatest indigenous art form, a musical hybrid whose origins are as mysterious, complex, and surprising as its evolution has proved to be. Written by Grammy award-winning author Tom Piazza and produced by the experts at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Understanding Jazz uses simple explanations and analogies to illuminate the basics of listening to a jazz performance: how to discern form, instrumentation, style, and intent.

Each of the book’s seven sections focuses on a particular aspect of the jazz vernacular, from the way individual instruments or voices come together yet remain distinct, to the spontaneous miracles of skilled improvisation, to the transcendent rhythmic qualities of swing and the enduring influence of the blues.

Specific points in the text are illustrated and reinforced on the accompanying CD in recordings that capture some of jazz’s most gifted musicians: Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie, among others.

A unique celebration of the influence of jazz on American life, this book and CD are perfect for both jazz enthusiasts and beginning listeners alike, initiating them into the exciting world of this singular style of music.

About the Author:

Tom Piazza is the author of seven books, including the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award-winning The Guide To Classic Recorded Jazz and the widely acclaimed novel My Cold War. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Oxford American, and many other publications. He is the recipient of a James Michener Fellowship in Fiction and a 2004 Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues–a Musical Journey. He may be visited at

Wynton Marsalis is the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis has won nine Grammy awards and his oratorio on slavery and freedom, Blood on the Fields, became the first and, to date, only jazz composition to win the Pulitzer Prize in music.

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