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    Apr 18

    Written by: Michael Dalby 4/18/2011 10:02 AM 


    Biographies can tell the story of a musician’s life and/or discuss their music. The finest jazz biographies are well-researched, insightful, and readable. Some recent biographies seem to get caught up in making a point or, while useful in supplying information on overlooked musicians, are a tough read. Some writers attempt to focus on one significant part of a musician’s career. Here are some of the better recent titles plus some classic jazz biographies. Most try to deal with the music as well as the life. Also included here are autobiographies, specialized studies, pictorial works, and collections of interviews and essays.



    Spellman, A. B., 1935-
    Four jazz lives / A.B. Spellman.
    Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2004.
    (Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Herbie Nichols, Jackie McLean)
    ML394 .S74 2004
    Teachout, Terry.
    Pops : a life of Louis Armstrong / Terry Teachout.
    Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, c2009.
    ML419.A75 T43 2009 

    Lock, Graham, 1948-
    Forces in motion : the music and thoughts of Anthony Braxton / Graham Lock ; photographs by Nick White ; foreword by Anthony Braxton.
    New York, N.Y. : Da Capo Press, 1988.
    ML419.B735 L6 1988  
    Litweiler, John.
    Ornette Coleman : a harmolodics life / John Litweiler.
    1st U.S. ed.
    New York : W. Morrow, 1993.
    ML419.C63 L6 1993

    Porter, Lewis.
    John Coltrane : his life and music / Lewis Porter.
    1st paperback ed.
    Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c1999.
    ML419.C645 P65 1999 
    Carr, Ian.
    Miles Davis : the definitive biography / Ian Carr.
    Rev. ed.
    London : HarperCollins, 1998.
    ML419.D39 C35 1998
    Chambers, J. K.
    Milestones : the music and times of Miles Davis / Jack Chambers ; with a new introduction.
    1st Da Capo Press ed.
    New York : Da Capo Press, 1998.
    ML419.D39 C5 1998
    Hasse, John Edward, 1948-
    Beyond category : the life and genius of Duke Ellington / John Edward Hasse.
    New York, N.Y. : Simon & Schuster, c1993.
    ML410.E44 H37 1993
    Stein Crease, Stephanie.
    Gil Evans : out of the cool : his life and music / Stephanie Stein Crease.
    Chicago, IL : A cappella, c2002.
    ML419.E95 S84 2002
    Hamilton, Andy, 1957-
    Lee Konitz : conversations on the improviser's art / Andy Hamilton.
    Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2007.
    ML419.K66 H36 2007
    Priestley, Brian, 1946-
    Mingus, a critical biography / Brian Priestley.
    New York : Da Capo Press, [1984], c1982.
    ML418.M45 P7 1984
    Kelley, Robin D. G.
    Thelonious Monk : the life and times of an American original / Robin D. G. Kelley.
    1st Free Press hardcover ed.
    New York : Free Press, 2009.
    ML417.M846 K46 2009
    Petersen, Leif Bo, 1942-
    The music and life of Theodore "Fats" Navarro : infatuation / Leif Bo Petersen, Theo Rehak.
    Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2009.
    ML419.N29 P47 2009
    Woideck, Carl.
    Charlie Parker : his music and life / Carl Woideck.
    Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c1996.
    ML419.P4 W65 1996
    Heining, Duncan, 1953-
    George Russell : the story of an American composer / Duncan Heining.
    Lanham : Scarecrow Press, 2010.
    ML410.R96 H45 2010
    Szwed, John F., 1936-
    Space is the place : the lives and times of Sun Ra / John F. Szwed.
    1st Da Capo Press ed.
    New York : Da Capo Press, 1998.
    ML410.S978 S73 1998
    Shim, Eunmi, 1964-
    Lennie Tristano : his life in music / Eunmi Shim.
    Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2007.
    ML417.T8 S55 2007


    Harker, Brian.
    Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings / Brian Harker.
    New York City : Oxford University Press, 2011.
    [on order]
    Kahn, Ashley.
    Kind of blue / Ashley Kahn ; foreword by Jimmy Cobb.
    New York, N.Y. : Da Capo Press, c2000.
    ML419.D39 K12 2000 
    Tucker, Mark, 1954-
    Ellington : the early years / Mark Tucker.
    Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c1991.
    ML410.E44 T8 1991


    Davis, Miles.
    Miles : the autobiography / Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe.
    New York : Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, 2005, c1989.
    ML419 .D39 A3 2005
    Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974.
    Music is my mistress / by Edward Kennedy Ellington.
    New York : Da Capo Press, 1976, c1973.
    ML410.E44 A3 1976
    Gillespie, Dizzy, 1917-1993.
    To be, or not-- to bop / Dizzy Gillespie ; with Al Fraser.
    1st University of Minnesota Press ed.
    Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 2009, c1979.
    ML419.G54 A3 2009


    Giddins, Gary.
    Satchmo : the genius of Louis Armstrong / Gary Giddins.
    New York : Da Capo Press, 2001.
    ML419.A75 G53 2001
    We want Miles : Miles Davis / [edited by Vincent Bessières ; text by Franck Bergerot ; with contributions by George Avakian ... [et al.]].
    New York : Skira Rizzoli, c2010.
    ML419.D39 W4 2010


    The Louis Armstrong companion : eight decades of commentary / edited by Joshua Berrett.
    New York : Schirmer Books, 1999.
    ML419.A75 L68 1999 
    The John Coltrane companion : five decades of commentary / edited by Carl Woideck.
    New York : Schirmer Books ; London : Prentice Hall International, c1998.
    ML419.C645 J65 1998
    The Duke Ellington reader / edited by Mark Tucker.
    Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1993.
    ML410.E44 D84 1995
    Lacy, Steve.
    Steve Lacy : conversations / edited by Jason Weiss.
    Durham [N.C.] : Duke University Press, 2006.
    ML419 .L22 S84 2006
    A Lester Young reader / edited by Lewis Porter.
    Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.
    ML419.Y7 L47 1991 



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