Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Two Essential Jazz Books

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I read two great books on Jazz recently.

Both books are by Ashley Kahn, who has written other music books and was a road manager for several bands and various other music related jobs.

The first is "Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece", which also includes a forward by the only surviving member of the quintet that performed on that album, drummer Jimmy Cob.

This album is one of, if not the, most essential jazz album to have in any collection, noob or pro. So obviously there is a lot of history behind the lead up to how and why this album was made.

It goes into detail the history of each band member and how the writing process went down, how the sessions were recorded, and who composed what. It also includes the reactions and accolades after the album was released.

The second book is "A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album", another behind the scenes book about this essential album (and many might consider it the superior album).

This album was when Coltrane took a new spiritual direction and moved much closer into free jazz (indeed, his next major album Ascension split the fans because of it's atonality and controversial decisions).

Again, it delves into the history of Coltrane, who the classic quartet members, the shape of jazz in the mid-60's and how the recording took place. It also describes the alternate takes that were made but not used and only released recently on a reissue album, and how free jazz became after the album was released.

If you are a jazz fan, and a fan of music and details of recording, these are the best places to start. I also recommend to buy these 2 albums immediately!

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