Friday, April 4, 2008

Jazz Appreciation Month

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. There is no better time to learn more about the most important music to ever come out of America. Jazz may take a bit more effort to appreciate than commercial pop music, but that effort is greatly rewarded in a true art form.

The library has lots of books to help you learn more about this great art.

A good place to start is The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Jazz (781.65 S). This great little book outlines the history, players and styles of Jazz.

Louis by Max Jones and John Chilton (B Armstrong) tells the story of the father of Jazz. Most experts agree that Jazz was born in New Orleans with the playing of Louis Armstrong. This book includes quite a few historic photographs.

To Be or Not to Bop (785.420924 G) by Dizzy Gillespie is the memoir of one of the founders and most important voices of Bebop. Dizzy's great talent combined with his rich personality made him not just a great musician but an ambassador for jazz. Illustrated.

Ellis Marsalis, Jr. has been overshadowed by his more famous sons, Winton and Branford. In Jazz Man's Journey (B Marsalis), D. Antoinette Handy brings attention to the talented father who has served New Orleans for years as a musician and educator. Illustrated.

The Guitar in Jazz (787.87165 G) is an anthology on an instrument not as common as it should be in Jazz.

Children's books

Jazz Stars (J920 J) is a small book with brief biographies of 8 jazz greats from Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker.

Great African Americans in Jazz by Carlotta Hacker (J781.65 H) covers 13 musicians with lots of photographs and highlights.

Jazz by Langston Hughes, updated and expanded by Sanford Brown (J785.42 H) Langston Hughes was one of the great voices of the Harlem Renaissance. This children's version of his writing on jazz is well illustrated and interesting arranged.

Louis Armstrong 1901-1971 Journey to Freedom by Kindle Fahlenkamp-Merrell (JB Armstrong) is an easily approachable biography of Armstrong featuring lots of photographs.

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