lamdha books -
Catalogue of books on jazz and blues

Click on the small images at right to see a larger picture

Acosta, Leonardo (trans. Daniel Whitesell)
Cubano Be Cubano Bop: One Hundred Years of Jazz in Cuba
Smithsonian Books, Washington, 2003.
Hardcover, octavo, 288pp., monochrome illustrations. Slightly scuffed dustwrapper. Very good to near fine otherwise. Pays tribute not only to the distinguished lineage of Cuban jazz musicians and composers but also to the rich musical exchanges between Cuban and American jazz throughout the twentieth century.
Click here to order

Balliett, Whitney
Such Sweet Thunder
Macdonald, London, 1968.
First UK edition. Hardcover, octavo; green boards with gilt spine titling; 366pp. Owner's list of jazz singers on last page. Moderate wear; foxing to endpapers, prelims and some occasional scattered spotting thereafter; toned and spotted text block edges. Green dustwrapper with spotting, scraping to fore-edges, two small tears on upper rear edge, wear to spine panel extremities and corners. Good to very good with wrapper now protected in archival film and white paper backing. Includes profiles of Earl Hines, Pee Wee Russell, Mary Lou Williams and Red Allen; a long section on Duke Ellington; reviews of the Newport and Monterey jazz festivals and comments on the work of such varied artists as Benny Carter, Roy Eldridge, Ornette Coleman, Bill Evans, Coleman Hawkins, Cecil Taylor, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Mingus.
Click here to order

Balmer, Paul
Stephane Grappelli With and Without Django
Sanctuary Publishing Ltd., London, 2003.
Octavo; hardcover, with silver-gilt spine titles; 428pp., with 16pp. of monochrome plates. Mild wear; text block and page edges toned; mild spotting to the preliminaries. Dustwrapper mildly edgeworn; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. Charting Grappelli's upbringing in the semi-rural slums of Montmartre, life under the Nazi rule of World War Two to his meeting with Django Reinhardt and the emergence of Swing, this extensive biography covers the full range of the master violinist's career. His life took in the heady heights of the jazz world of the 1950s and the wide variety of musicians and singers he performed with included Art Tatum, Paul Whiteman, a fresh-faced Nigel Kennedy, and of course Bing Crosby. Unearthing countless rare photographs and memorabilia from his personal archives, as well as undertaking many interviews with surviving friends and musical contemporaries, the author also conducts the last interview before his death, making this the definitive account of this jazz legend's life and career.
Click here to order

Baraka, Amiri
Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music
University of California Press, Berkeley, 2009.
First US edition. Hardcover, octavo; yellow papered boards with black spine and embossed black spine titling, yellow endpapers; 411pp. Very minor wear only; near fine in like dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. For almost half a century, Amiri Baraka has ranked among the most important commentators on African American music and culture. In this brilliant assemblage of his writings on music, the first such collection in nearly twenty years, Baraka blends autobiography, history, musical analysis, and political commentary to recall the sounds, people, times, and places he's encountered. As in his earlier classics, Blues People and Black Music, Baraka offers essays on the famous, Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and on those whose names are known mainly by jazz aficionados, Alan Shorter, Jon Jang, and Malachi Thompson. Baraka's literary style, with its deep roots in poetry, makes palpable his love and respect for his jazz musician friends. His energy and enthusiasm show us again how much Coltrane, Albert Ayler, and the others he lovingly considers mattered. He brings home to us how music itself matters, and how musicians carry and extend that knowledge from generation to generation, providing us, their listeners, with a sense of meaning and belonging.
Click here to order

Blesh, Rudi
Combo USA Eight Lives in Jazz
Chilton Book Company, Philadelphia, 1971.
Hardcover, octavo; red cloth boards with silver-gilt spine titling and silver and blue gilt decorative spots on front board, black endpapers; 240pp., monochrome plates. Minor wear, spotting and toning to text block edges. Moderately worn dustwrapper with laminate lifting along spine and edges; chipping and scraping to edges especially at spine panel extremities and corners. Wrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. "I don't pretend to be objective about all this. I'm subjective as hell. These are the people who have brought me joy. These are the people I love. I knew most of them. I wish I had known them all." These people are Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jack Teagarden, Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Gene Krupa, Charlie Christian, and Eubie Blake.
Click here to order

Blumenthal, Bob & John Abbott
Saxophone Colossus: A Portrait of Sonny Rollins
Abrams, New York, 2010.
Quarto hardcover, 160pp., colour illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. Employing a framework inspired by the classic 1956 album of the same name, this book, both through the images of Abbott, Rollins' photographer of choice, and the essays of Blumenthal, honours Rollins' music and spirit in a way that will appeal to both newcomers and longstanding fans alike.
Click here to order

Brothers, Thomas
Louis Armstrong's New Orleans
Norton, New York, 2006.
Hardcover, octavo, 386pp. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. A depiction of New Orleans at the turn of the twentieth century, a city marked by racial tensions, yet also characterized by fervent religious beliefs and, of course, music: funeral bands on the streets, professional musicians in the dance halls and cabarets, sanctified parishioners in the churches, and early blues musicians on the street corners and in the honky-tonks. This account of Armstrong's formative years coincides with the birth and evolution of jazz itself.
Click here to order

Brown, Leonard L.
John Coltrane & Black America's Quest for Freedom Spirituality and the Music
Oxford University Press Inc., New York, NY, USA, 2010.
Remainder, octavo, paperback, new. John Coltrane's unique and powerful saxophonic sound is commonly recognized among jazz scholars and fans alike as having a "spiritual" nature, imbued with the performer's soul, which deeply touches musicians and listeners worldwide. This revered and respected musician created new standards, linked tradition with innovation, challenged common assumptions, and relentlessly pursued spiritual goals in his music, which he aimed openly to use as a means to help listeners see the beauty of life. More than four decades after Coltrane's death, it is this spiritual nature of the music that has kept his sound alive - and thriving - on the contemporary jazz scene... 'John Coltrane and Black America's Quest for Freedom' is a timely exploration of Coltrane's sound and its spiritual qualities as they relate to Black American music culture and aspirations for freedom. A wide-ranging collection of essays and interviews featuring many of the most eminent figures in jazz studies and performance... the book examines the full spectrum of Coltrane's legacy. Each essay approaches this theme from a different angle, in both historical and contemporary contexts, focusing on how Coltrane became a quintessential example of the universal and enduring qualities of Black American culture.
Click here to order

Claerbaut, A. Alyce, & David Schlesinger (eds.) (Foreword by Ramsey Lewis)
Strayhorn An Illustrated Life
Bolden/Agate Publishing, Chicago IL, 2015.
Quarto; hardcover, with illustrated boards and decorative endpapers; 196pp., with many monochrome and colour illustrations. Remainder. New. An Illustrated Life is a stunning collection of essays, photographs, and ephemera celebrating Billy Strayhorn, one of the most significant yet under-appreciated contributors to 20th century American music. Released in commemoration of Strayhorn's centennial, this luxurious coffee-table book offers intimate details of the composer's life from musicians, scholars, and Strayhorn's closest relatives. Perhaps best known for his 28-year collaborative role as Duke Ellington's "writing and arranging companion," Strayhorn has emerged in recent years as an even more meritorious force in shaping the jazz canon. Strayhorn begins by describing Billy's abusive upbringing and early success, and goes on to cover his music, family, intellectual pursuits, involvement with civil rights, and open homosexuality. Strayhorn features contributions from Strayhorn's biographer David Hajdu, film director Rob Levi, music scholar Walter van de Leur, as well as commentary from jazz greats like Lena Horne, Clark Terry, Dianne Reeves, Nancy Wilson, Terell Stafford, Herb Jeffries, and more.
Click here to order

Clare, John/Gail Brennan
Bodgie Dada & The Cult of Cool
University of New South Wales, 1995.
Quarto hardcover; black boards with gilt spine titling and silver endpapers; 218pp., colour and monochrome illustrations. Inscription. Spotting to upper text block edge. Black illustrated dustwrapper, rubbed with a few fine scratches on rear panel and wear to edges. Very good. Wrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Something of an insider's history of Australian jazz from the days of the El Rocco into the early 90s.
Click here to order

Collier, James Lincoln
Duke Ellington
Michael Joseph, London, 1987.
First edition. Hardcover, octavo, 340pp., monochrome illustrations. Lightly toned and spotted text block edges and dustwrapper worn along edges and corners. Very good. 'Music lovers everywhere have hailed Duke Ellington as one of the greatest geniuses of jazz. Yet, aside from Ellington's own rather unrevealing autobiography and a collection of reminiscences of his band members, no in-depth biography of this preeminent figure of twentieth-century music and entertainment has previously existed. James Lincoln Collier fills this gap with his definitive critical biography of both the man and his music. Author of the highly acclaimed Louis Armstrong: An American Genius, Collier tells the full story of Edward Kennedy Ellington from his childhood as the pampered and adored only son of a middle-class Washington black family to his death in 1974 when over ten thousand people mourned at his funeral and The New York Times obituary proclaimed him "America's greatest composer." The volume features such highlights as the formation of Ellington's band, which ultimately included some of the greatest names in jazz history such as Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Cootie Williams, Lawrence Brown, and Paul Gonsalves; his arrival at the legendary Cotton Club in Harlem in the 1920s; his involvement with his manager Irving Mills, who manipulated and cheated him and even put his own name on some of Ellington's songs, but also made him famous; and his relationship with his family, including his troubled relationship with his son, his marriage, and his many affairs. Above all, Collier focuses on the creation of the music, from the classic songs such as "Sophisticated Lady" to the "sacred concerts" of Ellington's last years. He argues that we need to view Ellington not strictly as a "composer," but more importantly as an "improvising jazz musician." The whole band served as his instrument. Not all will agree with Collier's controversial assessments, but this compelling biography will enthrall jazz buffs as well as anyone interested in a fascinating life and times.'
Click here to order

Collier, James Lincoln
Louis Armstrong
Michael Joseph, London, 1984.
First edition. Hardcover, octavo; tan boards with gilt spine titling; 383pp., monochrome plates. Minor wear; offsetting to endpapers and half-title page with heavy browning and spotting to page and text block edges. Minimal scuffing and wear to dustwrapper edges. Good to very good and professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. 'Louis Armstrong. "Satchmo." To millions of fans, he was just a great entertainer. But to jazz aficionados, he was one of the most important musicians of our times - not only a key figure in the history of jazz but a formative influence on all of 20th-century popular music. Set against the backdrop of New Orleans, Chicago, and New York during the "jazz age", Collier re-creates the saga of an old-fashioned black man making it in a white world. He chronicles Armstrong's rise as a musician, his scrapes with the law, his relationships with four wives, and his frequent feuds with fellow musicians Earl Hines and Zutty Singleton. He also sheds new light on Armstrong's endless need for approval, his streak of jealousy, and perhaps most important, what some consider his betrayal of his gift as he opted for commercial success and stardom. A unique biography, knowledgeable, insightful, and packed with information, it ends with Armstrong's death in 1971 as one of the best-known figures in American entertainment.'
Click here to order

Crowther, Brice & Mike Pinfold
Singing Jazz The Singers and Their Styles
Miller Freeman Books, San Francisco, CA, USA, 1997.
Octavo; paperback; 256pp. Remainder. New. The lives, words, and music of vocalists past and present portraying the diverse and stimulating world of the jazz singer.
Click here to order

Dance, Stanley
The World of Duke Ellington
Da Capo, New York, 2000.
Octavo paperback; 310pp., b&w illustrations. One or two spots on text block edge and mild edgewear to covers. Very good.
Click here to order

Davis, Francis
Outcats Jazz Composers, Instrumentalists and Singers
Oxford University Press, New Yotk, 1990.
Hardcover, octavo, 261pp. Minor wear only; very good in like dustwrapper (now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film). An indispensable guide to the best in - then - recent and reissued jazz. Subjects range from the mainstream to the experimental, from Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Winton Marsalis to Cecil Taylor, John Zorn and Sun Ra.
Click here to order

DeCarava, Roy
The Sound I Saw Improvisations on a Jazz Theme
Phaidon Press Ltd., London, 2001.
First edition. Quarto; hardcover, full cloth, boards decorated in blind with silver-gilt spine and upper board titles and black endpapers; unpaginated, with many monochrome illustrations. Mild wear; board corners a little bumped; previous owner's ink inscription to the verso of the title page. Dustwrapper a little rubbed and edgeworn; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Near fine. "This is a book about people, about jazz, and about things. The work between its covers tries to present images for the head and for the heart and, like its subject matter, is particular, subjective, and individual," writes DeCarava. A master of poetic contemplation and of sensual tonalities in black and white, DeCarava is, above all, a photographer of people. A member of the post-World War II generation that sought a new modernist vocabulary, he was first recognized for his innovative images of life in Harlem and extraordinary portraits of jazz musicians. It is these two themes - New York and jazz - interwoven and inseparable, that are the ostensible subject of the sound i saw. However, the seemingly casual yet deeply felt compositions and the rich, gradient tones of DeCarava's photographs stir emotions that resonate far beyond one neighborhood and one era. Conceived, designed, written, and made as an artist maquette by DeCarava in the early 1960s, the sound i saw went unpublished for almost half a century until it was printed by Phaidon in 2001. At its core is a visual and philosophical journey to plumb the meaning of a creative life. The artist's intention in proposing a complex relationship between vision and music moves his comprehensive, decade-long reflection to the status of a magnum opus.
Click here to order

Dregni, Michael
Gypsy Jazz: In Search of Django Reinhardt and the Soul of Gypsy Swing
Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008.
Hardcover, octavo; quarter bound purple boards with red spine and purple gilt spine titling; 333pp., b/w plates. Minor wear; faint spotting to text block and mild rubbing to wrapper; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good to near fine. Of all the styles of jazz to emerge in the twentieth century, none is more passionate, more exhilaratingly up-tempo, or more steeped in an outsider tradition than Gypsy Jazz. And there is no one more qualified to write about Gypsy Jazz than Michael Dregni, author of the acclaimed biography, Django. A vagabond music, Gypsy Jazz is played today in French Gypsy bars, Romany encampments, on religious pilgrimages - and increasingly on the world's greatest concert stages. Yet its story has never been told, in part because much of its history is undocumented, either in written form or often even in recorded music. Beginning with Django Reinhardt, whose dazzling Gypsy Jazz became the toast of 1930s Paris in the heady days of Josephine Baker, Picasso, and Hemingway, Dregni follows the music as it courses through caravans on the edge of Paris, where today's young French Gypsies learn Gypsy Jazz as a rite of passage, along the Gypsy pilgrimage route to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer where the Romany play around their campfires, and finally to the new era of international Gypsy stars such as Bireli Lagrene, Boulou Ferre, Dorado Schmitt, and Django's own grandchildren, David Reinhardt and Dallas Baumgartner. Interspersed with Dregni's vivid narrative are the words of the musicians themselves, many of whom have never been interviewed for the American press before, as they describe what the music means to them. Gypsy Jazz also includes a chapter devoted entirely to American Gypsy musicians who remain largely unknown outside their hidden community. Blending travelogue, detective story, and personal narrative, Gypsy Jazz is music history at its best, capturing the history and culture of this elusive music-and the soul that makes it swing.
Click here to order

Ellington, Edward Kennedy
Music is My Mistress
Doubleday, New York, 1973.
Second printing. Small quarto hardcover; quarter bound in brown papered boards with black cloth spine and gilt spine titling; 522pp., monochrome photographic portrait frontispiece., and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; mild toning and spotting to text block edges. Slightly rubbed illustrated dustwrapper with browning to spine and rear panel edges; tiny missing segments at spine panel extremities and corners; mild creasing and slightly scraped fore-edges. Very good to near fine and wrapper now protected in archival film with white paper backing.
Click here to order

Jazz on the Mississippi River: Footnote, vol. 6, number 6: August-September 1975
Footnote, Cherry Hinton.,
Periodical, stapled, octavo, 40pp., card cover. Minor wear; very good. Essay by Derek Coller. Also interviews, reviews.
Click here to order

Freeman, Philip
Running the Voodoo Down The Electric Music of Miles Davis
Backbeat Books, San Francisco, 2005.
Paperback, octavo, 241pp., b/w illustrations. New. Remainder. A detailed examination of the entire second half of the trumpeter's career and placed in a broader context than previously attempted.
Click here to order

Friedwald, Will
The Great Jazz and Pop Vocal Albums
Pantheon Books/Penguin Random House LLC., New York NY, 2017.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards with silver-gilt spine titles; 404pp., with many colour illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. It is through their albums that Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, and the rest of the glorious honour roll of jazz and pop singers have been most tellingly and lastingly appreciated, and the history of the album itself, as Will Friedwald sketches it, can now be seen as a crucial part of musical history. We come to understand that, at their finest, albums have not been mere collections of individual songs strung together arbitrarily but organic phenomena in their own right. A Sinatra album, a Fitzgerald album, was planned and structured to show these artists at their best, at a specific moment in their artistic careers. Yet the albums Friedwald has chosen to anatomize go about their work in a variety of ways. There are studio and solo albums: Lee's Black Coffee, June Christy's Something Cool, Cassandra Wilson's Belly of the Sun. There are brilliant collaborations: famous ones - Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson - and wonderful surprises like Doris Day and Robert Goulet singing Annie Get Your Gun. There are theme albums - Dinah Washington singing Fats Waller, Maxine Sullivan singing Andy Razaf, Margaret Whiting singing Jerome Kern, Barb Jungr singing Bob Dylan, and the sublime Jo Stafford singing American and Scottish folk songs. There are also stunning concert albums like Ella in Berlin, Sarah in Japan, Lena at the Waldorf, and, of course, Judy at Carnegie Hall. All the greats are on hand, from Kay Starr and Carmen McRae to Jimmy Scott and Della Reese (Della Della Cha Cha Cha). And, from out of left field, the astounding God Bless Tiny Tim. Each of the fifty-seven albums discussed here captures the artist at a high point, if not at the expected moment, of her or his career. The individual cuts are evaluated, the sequencing explicated, the songs and songwriters heralded; anecdotes abound of how songs were born and how artists and producers collaborated. And in appraising each album, Friedwald balances his own opinions with those of musicians, listeners, and critics. A monumental achievement.
Click here to order

Gelly, Dave
Being Prez The Life & Music of Lester Young
Oxford, 2007.
Hardcover, octavo, 171pp., monochrome illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. Wrapper edges a little worn. The author is the weekly jazz critic for The Observer and contributes regularly to many other British periodicals.
Click here to order

Gelly, Dave
Stan Getz Nobody Else But Me
Backbeat Books, San Francisco CA, 2002.
Royal octavo; gatefold paperback; 176pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Remainder. New. The life and mastery of the instrument, the musical precision and lightness of touch.
Click here to order

Giddins, Gary
Weather Bird Jazz at the Dawn of its Second Century
Oxford, 2004.
Hardcover, octavo, 632pp. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. A companion volume to the author's earlier 'Visions of Jazz', it comprises a collection of more than 140 pieces written over a 14 year period - most of them for his column in the Village Voice. First and foremost, a celebration of jazz, it offers illuminating commentary on contemporary jazz events, top musicians, notable recordings, as well as leading figures from the music's past.
Click here to order

Godbolt, Jim
A History of Jazz in Britain 1919-50
Quartet Books, London, 1984.
Octavo hardcover; black boards with gilt spine titling; 306pp., monochrome plates. Minor wear; faint spotting to upper text block edges; mild wear to dustwrapper edges. Very good to near fine otherwise. The first truly comprehensive survey of the jazz phenomenon from a purely British perspective. Jim Godbolt examines in great detail the arrival of the music with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1919, the struggles towards the establishment of criteria, the big band era, the disastrous Musicians' Union ban and the extraordinary internecine warfare caused by the advent of bop. The American trail-blazing artists and bands of the twenties and thirties are all dealt with: the ODJB itself, the Southern Syncopated Orchestra, Paul Specht's Georgians, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Paul Whiteman, Ted Lewis, Cab Calloway and many more. Their influence on British musicians is carefully studied. All this wealth of conscientiously researched detail is related with the trenchant and pithy humour for which the author is well known in British jazz circles.
Click here to order

Gray, Michael
Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes In Search of Blind Willie McTell
Chicago Review Press, Chicago IL, 2009.
Hardcover, octavo; 432pp., monochrome illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. By the time he died in 1959, Blind Willie McTell was almost forgotten. He had never had a hit record, and his days of playing on street corners for spare change were long gone. But this masterful guitarist and exquisite singer has since become one of the most loved musicians of the prewar period, spurring Bob Dylan to write, 'Nobody can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell.' Now this richly evocative and wide-ranging biography illuminates the world of this elusive and fascinating figure, a blind man who made light of his disability and a performer who exploded every stereotype about blues musicians. Traveling the back roads of Georgia, interviewing relatives and acquaintances, and digging up fascinating archival material, author Michael Gray weaves together his discoveries to reveal an articulate and resourceful musician with a modest career but a mile-wide independent streak. Whether selling high-quality homemade bootleg whisky out of a suitcase, bragging about crowds of women chasing him, or suffering a stroke while eating barbecue under a tree, McTell emerges from this book a cheerful, outgoing, engaging individualist with seemingly limitless self-confidence. This moving odyssey into a lost world of black music and white power is also an unprecedented portrait of the culture, language, and landscape of the deep South - the violence, the leisurely pace of life - and of the blues preservationists who ventured into its heart. A long, thoughtful stare into the world of Blind Willie McTell, Hand Me My Travelin' Shoes is sure to find a place among the classics of American music history.
Click here to order

Gregory, Hugh
Roadhouse Blues Stevie Ray Vaughan and Texas R&B
Backbeat Books/ The Music Player Network United Entertainment Media Inc., San Francisco CA, 2003
Octavo; paperback, with illustrated gatefold wrappers; 192pp., with monochrome illustrations. Remainder. New. For once, the title is really an apt description of content - the book uses Vaughan as a framework to explore southern roadhouse guitar players, from the early roots of Charlie Christian to contemporary players now coming up. There's a long history of southwestern homeboy guitar wranglers and the book touches briefly on luminaries like Christian, T-Bone Walker, Peewee Crayton, Johnny Guitar Watson and Gatemouth Brown - giving capsule biographies and career synopses of each. While these guys were the early architects of the blues guitar sound, author Gregory narrows in on the men who had more direct influence on both Jimmie and Stevie Vaughan - Freddie King and Albert Collins are probably the best known (both had successful careers playing the white psychedelic ballrooms after down-home beginnings). Gregory also notes the emergence of younger white players like Johnny Winter and Z Z Top, whose brand of blues based rock set the style for several years to come. The main body of the book is a career biography of Stevie Ray, with personal details only mentioned briefly (there already are at least a couple other life stories kicking around on book shelves). The book's value is that not only does it detail Vaughan's career moves, listing various bands, but it also gives info on Vaughan's cohorts and sidemen - placing them all in the context of the area and the times. In other words, it's an overview of the whole southwest scene. Naturally that includes the Fabulous Thunderbirds, brother Jimmie's band, as well as others like Doug Sahm and Luann Barton. There's info on various management moves, including the Double Trouble's audition for the Rolling Stones label (the implication is that they were turned down because somebody feared the competition), details on why Vaughan declined the one year on-tour offer with David Bowie (it involved Vaughan's wife as much as his reluctance to split with his bandmates Tommy Shannon and John Turner). The narration describes how Vaughan recorded his debut album at Jackson Browne's studio, with John Hammond coming on as after-the-fact producer, and how soon his career was on its way. The book covers the various albums and tours as well as his addiction meltdowns, his subsequent rehab and death in a helicopter crash. There's also a section on his guitar sound - pointing out that part of his wide and deep tone was due to his use of strings some 70% thicker than usual - and stating also he tuned to E-flat instead of E. The book concludes with a legacy section, covering various players following in his footsteps, with a comprehensive discography section covering everybody included. This is not an exhaustive Stevie Ray story, rather it's a look at how all the various pieces and players came together. A bit more like an expanded and well-researched magazine article than an in-depth book. It remains, though a very readable record of a vital and influential musical arena.
Click here to order

Hancock, Herbie, with Lisa Dickey
Viking, 2014.
Octavo hardcover; white boards with black spine titling; 344pp., monochrome illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder, new. "Herbie Hancock was on honeymoon in Rio when he lost his job with Miles Davis. It was 1968, and Hancock, then 28, had logged five years on piano in Davis's quintet, one of the great units in jazz history. But a stomach bug and rigid doctor who forbade travel meant Hancock missed some gigs. When he reached Davis, the trumpeter directed him to his manager, who delivered the news. Davis had hired Chick Corea and moved on. Miles knew, of course. It was time for Hancock to spread his wings. Hancock's memoir, Possibilities, spans the jazz legend's life from his birth in 1940 to the present. Throughout he credits many people for his charmed journey, starting with his striver parents on Chicago's South Side, who supported his high-end music education, and trumpeter Donald Byrd, who plucked a 20-year-old Hancock from Chicago, took him to New York, and steeped him in advice about the business. But Davis gets extra praise. Jazz, he showed Hancock, is 'about trusting yourself to respond on the fly. If you can allow yourself to do that, you never stop exploring, you never stop learning, in music or in life.' The only higher credit goes to Nichiren Buddhism, which Hancock adopted in 1972 and continues to practice, chanting daily." - Siddhartha Mitter
Click here to order

Haydon, Geoffrey/ Marks, Dennis (ed)
Repercussions A Celebration of African - American Music
Century, London, 1985
Hardcover, octavo, 192pp. Spotting to upper text block edges, minor wear; very good in like dustwrapper. Essays on African music, gospel and rhythm and blues, and an excellent and illuminating text on Max Roach.
Click here to order

Hayes, Elaine M.
Queen of Bebop The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan
Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers, New York NY, 2017.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in cloth with a blind-stamped upper board decoration and metallic purple spine titles; 419pp., with a monochrome portrait frontispiece and 16pp. of plates likewise. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. Sarah Vaughan, a pivotal figure in the formation of bebop, influenced a broad array of singers who followed in her wake, yet the breadth and depth of her impact - not just as an artist, but also as an African American woman - remain overlooked. Equal parts biography, criticism, and good old-fashioned American success story, "Queen of Bebop" is the definitive account of a hugely influential artist. This absorbing and sensitive treatment of a singular personality updates and corrects the historical record on Vaughan and elevates her as a jazz great.
Click here to order

Horricks, Raymond
The Importance of Being Eric Dolphy
Costello, Tunbridge Wells UK, 1989.
Octavo paperback; 95pp., monochrome illustrations. Faint spotting to text block edges and mild wear to cover edges; a few tiny scrapes. Very good.
Click here to order

Johnson, Bruce
The Oxford Companion to Australian Jazz
Oxford University Press Melbourne Vic., 1987.
Quarto; hardcover, with silver-gilt spine titles; 320pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Mild wear; text block edges toned. Dustwrapper mildly rubbed and edgeworn; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. The first attempt to combine a comprehensive analysis of the development of jazz in Australia with biographical accounts of those who have contributed to that development. Entries on musicians, bands, venues are accompanied by photos whilst there are longer essays on record labels, broadcasting, regional characteristics, and a history of the evolution of attitudes to jazz in Australia.,
Click here to order

Josephson, Sanford
Jeru's Journey The Life & Music of Gerry Mulligan
Hal Leonard Books, Milwaukee WI, 2015.
Paperback, octavo; 213pp. New. Remainder.
Click here to order

Kostelanetz, Richard
The B.B. King Reader 6 Decades of Commentary
Hal Leonard Corporation, Milwaukee, WI, USA, 2005.
Paperback, octavo, 330pp., monochrome plates. Remainder. New. Riley 'BB' King, a hard-working blues ambassador has probably attracted more column inches of print than any other blues artist, and deservedly so. In this edition, Kostelanetz gathers some of the best B-ography from a 1952 Memphis newspaper article on up, divided into sections on his early career, his hard-fought rise to fame, his musical style and influences, and the view from the top. Top-and-tailed by essays from respected British writer Colin Escott, it intertwines comment, criticism and interviews. There's something for every Kingophile: Jerry Richardson painstakingly dissects his guitar technique, right down to the last pull-off, BB's biographer Charles Sawyer offers two insightful essays on the man's warm personality and genuine humility ('I have these stupid lazy fingers') and, best of all, Michael Lydon's undiluted account of travelling with the band in 1970, showing that the road was no picnic, even for an established star. That's what the blues is all about." - Mike Atherton
Click here to order

Litweiler, John
The Freedom Principle Jazz after 1958
William Morrow and Company Inc., New York NY, 1984.
First edition: octavo; hardcover; quarter-bound in cloth with silver-gilt spine titles and black endpapers; 324pp. Moderate wear; text block top edge dusted; moisture damage to the internal pages causing some rippling to part of the text block; retailer's stamp to the front pastedown; an old pencilled price to the flyleaf. Price-clipped dustwrapper is well rubbed and edgeworn sunned along the spine panel; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Good.
Click here to order

Lyons, Jimmy, & Ira Kamin
Dizzy, Duke, The Count and Me The Story of the Monterey Jazz Festival
A California Living Book, San Francisco CA, 1978.
Quarto; paperback; 184pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Mild wear; toned text block edges; rubbed covers with browning to spine and rear panel; wear to edges; offsetting to cover versos. Very good.
Click here to order

Lyttelton, Humphrey
The Best of Jazz: Basin Street to Harlem Jazz Masters and Masterpieces, 1917-1930
Robson, London, 1978.
Hardcover, octavo; tan boards with gilt spine titling; 214pp., monochrome plates. Minor wear; very mild offsetting to endpapers and slightly toned and spotted upper text block edges. Very good to near fine in like dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. In this highly original work, Humphrey Lyttleton, a noted authority, goes right back to the roots of jazz, highlighting key figures, unique styles and the greatest recordings. The inimitable Humph provides plenty of lively historical background and tells insightful anecdotes often taken from the reminiscences of the musicians involved. Artists discussed in the book include Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, Bessie Smith and Fletcher Henderson.
Click here to order

Mingus, Charles (Nel King, ed.)
Beneath the Underdog His world as composed by Mingus
Weidenfeld and Nicolson Ltd., London, 1971.
First UK edition: octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine titles; 366pp. Mild wear; lightly shaken; softening to the spine extremities; corners bumped. Dustwrapper mildly rubbed and edgeworn; chipping to the spine panel extremities and flap-turns; now backed by archival-quality white paper and professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. Like no other autobiographical work, Beneath the Underdog is the wild, funny, demonic, dirty, anguished, shocking and moving self-portrait of the great black musician and composer.
Click here to order

Nicholson, Stuart
Ella Fitzgerald
Victor Gollancz Ltd., London, 1993.
First UK edition: octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine titles; 286pp., with 16pp. of monochrome plates. Minore wear; light spotting to the text block edges. Slightly scuffed dustwrapper with light wear to edges; now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Very good. Follows the great singer's career from her debut as a gauche sixteen-year-old. Within two years she achieved stardom with a million-selling record. By the 1950s she had won practically every honour open to her, was feted by the rich and famous throughout the world and had collaborated with the greatest artists in jazz and popular music.
Click here to order

Nolan, Tom
Three Chords for Beauty's Sake The Life of Artie Shaw
W.W. Norton & Company Inc., New York NY, 2010.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards with gilt spine titles; 430pp., with 8pp. of monochrome plates. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. During America's Swing Era, no musician was more successful or controversial than Artie Shaw: the charismatic and opinionated clarinetist-bandleader whose dozens of hits became anthems for "the greatest generation." But some of his most beautiful recordings were not issued until decades after he'd left the scene. He broke racial barriers by hiring African-American musicians. His frequent "retirements" earned him a reputation as the Hamlet of jazz. And he quit playing for good at the height of his powers. The handsome Shaw had seven wives (including Lana Turner and Ava Gardner). Inveterate reader and author of three books, he befriended the best-known writers of his time. Tom Nolan, who interviewed Shaw between 1990 and his death in 2004 and spoke with one hundred of his colleagues and contemporaries, captures Shaw and his era with candour and sympathy, bringing the master to vivid life and restoring him to his rightful place in jazz history.
Click here to order

Palmer, Robert
Blues & Chaos The music writings of Robert Palmer
Scribner, New York, 2009.
Hardcover, octavo, 452pp. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. Robert Palmer's extraordinary knowledge and boundless love of music were evident in all his writing. He was an authority on rock and roll, blues, jazz, punk, avant-garde and world music - often discovering new artists and trends years before they hit the mainstream. Now noted music writer Anthony DeCurtis has compiled the best pieces from Palmer's oeuvre and presents them here in one compelling volume.
Click here to order

Ratliff, Ben
Coltrane The Story of a Sound
Faber and Faber Ltd., London, 2007.
Octavo hardcover; dark red boards with gilt spine titling, red endpapers: 250pp. Toned text block edges with mild spotting on top edge; slight rubbing to red illustrated dustwrapper. Very good to near fine. John Coltrane left an indelible mark on the world, but what was the essence of his achievement that makes him so prized forty years after his death? What were the factors that helped Coltrane become who he was? And what would a John Coltrane look like now - or are we looking for the wrong signs? In this deftly written, riveting study, New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff answers these questions and examines the life of Coltrane, the acclaimed band leader and deeply spiritual man who changed the face of jazz music. Ratliff places jazz among other art forms and within the turbulence of American social history, and he places Coltrane not just among jazz musicians but among the greatest American artists.
Click here to order

Riccardi, Ricky
What a Wonderful World: The Magic of Louis Armstrong's Later Years
Pantheon, New York, NY, USA, 2011.
First edition. Octavo; hardcover; 369pp. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. Much has been written about Louis Armstrong, but the majority of it focuses on the early and middle stages of his career. In this prodigiously researched and richly detailed book, jazz scholar and musician Ricky Riccardi reveals for the first time the genius and remarkable achievements of the last 25 years of Armstrong's life, providing along the way a comprehensive study of one of the best-known and most accomplished jazz stars of our time. During the last third of his career, Armstrong was often dismissed as a buffoonish if popular entertainer, but Riccardi shows us instead the inventiveness and depth of his music during this time. These are the years of his highest-charting hits, including 'Mack the Knife' and 'Hello, Dolly'; the famed collaborations with Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington; and his legendary recordings with the All Stars. An eminently readable and insightful book, What a Wonderful World completes and enlarges our understanding of one of America's greatest and most beloved musical icons.
Click here to order

Robertson, David
W.C. Handy The Life and Times of the Man Who Made the Blues
Knopf, New York, 2009.
Hardcover, octavo, 286pp., monochrome illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder. New. Handy was more responsible perhaps than any other person for bringing the blues into the American mainstream. This is the first major biography of the man who gave the world such iconic songs as 'St. Louis Blues', 'The Memphis Blues' and 'Beale Street Blues'.
Click here to order

Rothschild, Hannah
The Baroness The Search for Nica, the Rebellious Rothschild
Borzoi Books/Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Inc., New York NY, 2012.
Octavo; hardcover, quarter-bound in papered boards with silver-gilt spine-titles; 289pp., untrimmed, with a portrait frontispiece and many monochrome illustrations. Bump to upper side text block edge; a little ripping to rear panel of dustwrapper (now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film). Part musical odyssey, part dazzling love story, this biography, written by Nica's great niece, traces an extraordinary journey, from England's stately homes to the battlefields of Africa, passing under the shadow of the Holocaust, and finally to New York's 1950s jazz scene. From the moment Nica heard 'Round Midnight', the music overtook her like a spell and she spent the rest of her life befriending and assisting the musicians, above all Thelonious Monk, whom she cared for until his death.
Click here to order

Santoro, Gene
Myself When I Am Real The Life and Music of Charles Mingus
Oxford, 2000.
Hardcover, octavo, 452pp. Scuffing and edgewear to dustwrapper. Otherwise very good. Charles Mingus was one of the most innovative jazz musicians of the twentieth century and ranks with Ives and Ellington as one of America's greatest composers. The author draws on dozens of new interviews and previously overlooked archival materials to highlight the relationship between the man - by temperament, high-strung and romantic - and the ever-shifting textures of his music.
Click here to order

Schafer, William J.
The Original Jelly Roll Blues
Flame Tree Publishing, London, 2008.
Paperback, octavo, 256pp., monochrome illustrations. Remainder, new. "Jazz is to be played sweet, soft, plenty rhythm. When you have your plenty rhythm with your plenty swing, it becomes beautiful," Morton told Alan Lomax in 1938. The self-styled 'Originator of Jazz' was a virtuoso pianist, composer and bandleader, as well as a visionary artist whose music announced an era of vibrancy and sweeping societal change.
Click here to order

Selbert, Todd (ed.)
The Art Pepper Companion
Cooper Square Press, New York, 2003.
Paperback, octavo, 268pp. Remainder. New. Interviews, liner notes, reviews, critical studies and retrospectives by jazz connoisseurs.
Click here to order

Shapiro, Nat and Nat Hentoff
Hear Me Talkin' to Ya The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made It
Dover, New York, nd.
Reprint. Paperback, octavo; 429pp. Faint spotting to text block edges; mild rubbing to covers with slight wear to edges and corners; one or two small scrapes to edges and corners. Very good. Kaleidoscopic and anecdotal account from the earliest times, documented in hundreds of personal interviews, letters, tape recorded and telephone conversations and excerpts from previously printed articles.
Click here to order

Simon, George T.
Glenn Miller and His Orchestra
W H Allen, London, 1974.
First edition. Hardcover, octavo; brown boards with gilt spine titling, illustrated pictorial endpapers; 473pp., monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; spotting and toning to text block and page edges with slight offsetting to front endpaper. Toned dustwrapper with browning along spine and slight wear to edges. Very good with wrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. "George Simon's book about Glenn Miller is a marvellously personal statement from the man who was there when it happened. Glenn Miller the man has never been brought into such sharp focus." - Henry Mancini. "This book puts me right back in the whole scene again. It's beautifully done. Congratulations." - Benny Goodman.
Click here to order

Simosko, Vladimir & Barry Tepperman
Eric Dolphy A Musical Biography & Discography
Da Capo, New York, 1979.
Paperback, octavo, 132pp. Spotted and dusted text block edges; minor wear to card covers; a little foxing; else very good. ". . . Eric Dolphy was a deeply dedicated musician. He had absorbed the work of his predecessors and had had fruitful associations with several of the most advanced creators of his time: Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane. Such a career as his was obviously cut off too soon by death. And yet not too soon for Eric Dolphy to have participated in some of the most important recordings of the late 1950s and early 1960s." - Martin Williams
Click here to order

Szwed, John
Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth
Viking, New York, 2015.
Octavo hardcover; 230pp., monochrome frontispiece. Dustwrapper. Remainder, new. More than any other vocal artist of her era, Billie Holiday continues to capture the attention of historians and critics. The grim details of her life are, by now, well-known: how she emerged from a background of poverty and prostitution and, for the remainder of her years, struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, abusive relationships, and racism. Szwed does not gloss over these facts, but neither does he dwell on them, instead centering his account on Holiday's enigmatic persona and its relationship to her art. He calls the book a 'meditation' on Holiday rather than a strict biography and assumes that readers will have some familiarity with her life story. The first part of the book -The Myth - is a fragmentary but detailed exploration of how Holiday's persona developed outside of her recordings, focusing on her controversial autobiography Lady Sings the Blues (especially what was edited out of the manuscript) along with her film and TV appearances. The second part -The Musician - which takes up more than half the book, is an erudite blend of cultural history and musical insight that examines the historical context of Holiday's career, placing her in a lineage of female singers that reaches back to the 19th century. Szwed also takes a close look at Holiday's innovative vocal approach, reminding us that although she had no formal training, she possessed a remarkable gift for improvisation and interpretation, often reshaping melodies to the extent that she essentially rewrote them according to her own idiosyncratic visions. As with the best of Holiday's music, this elegant and perceptive study is restrained, nuanced, and masterfully carried out." - Kirkus
Click here to order

Vian, Boris (Mike Zwerin, trans.; Introduction by Miles Kington)
Round about Close to Midnight The Jazz Writings of Boris Vian
Quartet, London, 1988.
Hardcover, octavo; brown boards with gilt spine titling; 178pp. Minor wear; browning to page and text block edges with spotting on top edge; mild wear to spine panel extremities of dustwrapper. Very good to near fine otherwise. "Through combining liberty of syntax with a snappy 'American' style, Boris Vian invented modern French journalism as represented by such successful publications as the daily newspaper Liberation and the slick monthly magazine Actuel. He was at the centre of the Existentialist scene after the Second World War and played comet a la Bix Beiderbecke in the caves of St. Germain des Pres. Such novels as his Autumn in Peking and Froth on the Daydream are still available and read by today's youth. More than any other critic, Vian translated the joy and swing of jazz into prose in his passionate columns in Jazz Hot and Combat in the 1940s and 1950s. Since Vian's French is impossible to translate literally, and since many of his pieces were written for their time and place, this anthology is a selective and adapted collection: the best of Boris Vian."
Click here to order

Watson, Ben
Derek Bailey And the Story of Free Improvisation
Verso/New Left Books, London, 2013.
Octavo; paperback; 459pp., with 24pp. of monochrome plates. Remainder. New. "This brilliant biography of the cult guitar player makes you forget everything you think you know about jazz improvisation, post punk and the avant-garde. Derek Bailey was at the top of his profession as a dance-band and record-session guitarist when, in the early 1960s, he began playing an uncompromisingly abstract music. As the Joseph Holbrooke Trio, with bassist Gavin Bryars and drummer Tony Oxley, Bailey forged a musical syntax which has since operated as an international counter to the banality of commercialism. Refusing to be labeled a "jazz" guitarist, Bailey has collaborated with performance artists, electronic experimentalists, classical musicians, Zen dancers, tap dancers, rock stars, jazzers, poets, weirdos and an endless stream of fiercely individual musicians. Today his anti-idiom of "Free Improvisation" has become the lingua franca of the "avant" scene, with Pat Metheny, John Zorn, David Sylvian and Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore amongst his admirers. Derek Bailey and the Story of Free Improvisation lifts the lid on an artistic ferment which has defied every known law of the music business. Telling the story via taped interviews with Bailey and his cohorts, gig reports and album reviews (including an exhaustive discography of Bailey's vast and hard-to-track output), Ben Watson's spiky, partisan and often very funny biography argues that anyone who thought the avant-garde was dead simply forgot to listen."
Click here to order

Weiss, Jason (ed.)
Steve Lacy Conversations
Duke University Press, Durham NC, 2006.
Octavo; hardcover, with gilt spine titling; 289pp., with many monochrome illustrations. No dustwrapper as issued. Remainder. New. Steve Lacy: Conversations is a collection of thirty-four interviews with the innovative saxophonist and jazz composer. Lacy (1934-2004), a pioneer in making the soprano saxophone a contemporary jazz instrument, was a prolific performer and composer, with hundreds of recordings to his name. This volume brings together interviews that appeared in a variety of magazines between 1959 and 2004. Conducted by writers, critics, musicians, visual artists, a philosopher, and an architect, the interviews indicate the evolution of Lacy's extraordinary career and thought. Lacy began playing the soprano saxophone at sixteen, and was soon performing with Dixieland musicians much older than he. By nineteen he was playing with the pianist Cecil Taylor, who ignited his interest in the avant-garde. He eventually became the foremost proponent of Thelonious Monk's music. Lacy played with a broad range of musicians, including Monk and Gil Evans, and led his own bands. A voracious reader and the recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, Lacy was particularly known for setting to music literary texts - such as the Tao Te Ching, and the work of poets including Samuel Beckett, Robert Creeley, and Taslima Nasrin - as well as for collaborating with painters and dancers in multimedia projects.
Click here to order

Weston, Randy (Willard Jenkins, ed.)
African Rhythms The Autobiography of Randy Weston
Duke University Press, Durham NC, 2010.
Hardcover, octavo; black boards with gilt spine titling, blue endpapers; 326pp., monochrome illustrations. Dustwrapper. Remainder, new. Weston's narrative is replete with tales of the people he has met and befriended, and with whom he has worked. He describes his unique partnerships with Langston Hughes, the musician and arranger Melba Liston, and the jazz scholar Marshall Stearns, as well as his friendships and collaborations with Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, Billy Strayhorn, Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, the novelist Paul Bowles, the Cuban percussionist Candido Camero, the Ghanaian jazz artist Kofi Ghanaba, the Gnawa musicians of Morocco, and many others. With African Rhythms, an international jazz virtuoso continues to create cultural history.
Click here to order

White, Mark
The Observer's Book of Jazz - signed Observer's Book no. 76
Frederick Warne (Publishers) Ltd., London, 1978.
Duodecimo; hardcover, morocco boards with upper board titles and illustrated endpapers; 192pp., with many monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; text block edges lightly toned; signed and dated in ink on half-title page and illustrated rear endpaper. Dustwrapper slightly discoloured. Very good.
Click here to order

Williams, Richard
The Blue Moment Miles Davis's Kind of Blue and the Remaking of Modern Music
W W Norton, New York, 2010.
First edition. Hardcover, octavo, 309pp., dustwrapper. New. Remainder. An exploration of the cultural moods, musical and otherwise, that fed into the Davis masterpiece. The story of the recording is told along with the later careers of the participants. The influence of the album stretches beyond the immediate confines of jazz.
Click here to order