Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia - Richard Cook

The best thing about Richard Cook’s Jazz Encyclopedia is that it is so opinionated. In the mostly biographical entries about jazz, he pulls no punches in his assessments. On the saxophonist Archie Shepp, “A few recent performances on record have been close to embarrassing. . . .” Along with these observations, he gives a comprehensive look at the music and provides an important recording at the end of each biographical entry. And there are explanations of musical terms that are part of the lexicon of jazz. It’s educational and fun!

Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong - Terry Teachout

Louis Armstrong was a giant of 20th-century music: the pioneering innovator for both jazz instrumentalists and vocalists. A star of radio, film, television, and the concert stage, he was also jazz’s global ambassador. In his narrative biography, Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30), Terry Teachout (drama and jazz critic for the Wall Street Journal) draws upon the 650 reels of Armstrong’s personal “audioverité,” reel-to-reel tapes for the first time to reveal the real man behind the affable public persona. Teachout gives us Armstrong’s “epic journey from squalor to immortality,” and shows us his joyous, radically transforming art in all its complexity.

Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong By Terry Teachout Cover Image
ISBN: 9780547386379
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Mariner Books - October 7th, 2010

Thelonious Monk - Robin Kelley

Both Thelonious Monk’s compositions and his piano playing—with spare, “open” chords and skittish melodies—were one-of-a-kind. Though celebrated as a jazz giant, he was often portrayed as a reclusive, crazy eccentric. But in his epic, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original (Free Press, $30), Robin D.G. Kelley gives the genius his due—while sweeping away the myths and stereotypes—to reveal Monk as a working musician and family man. Kelley’s many interviews with musicians, club-owners, family, and friends give us an oral history woven into a well-researched analysis of Monk’s music and his times.

Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original By Robin D. G. Kelley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439190463
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Free Press - November 2nd, 2010