The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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pragmatically he observes that criticism is often hopelessly in­effective. Art Tatum and Bud Powell are the preferred pianists of most jazz critics. In polls conducted among critics and musi­cians, they surpassed all other contenders; scarcely any votes were registered for Dave Brubeck, who has been criticized almost continually by most jazz writers. Yet while Brubeck has won a long series of ballots conducted among the readers of music magazines, the combined influence of the critics could not bring the prestige of such recognition to Tatum or Powell.
But the jazz expert, if unable to mold public opinion through direct criticism, can fulfill many other valuable functions. The most important of all has been John Hammond, more a catalytic agent than a critic, responsible for the launching of the entire swing era (via Benny Goodman), of the boogie-woogie piano phenomenon, of such talents as Count Basie and Teddy Wilson and innumerable others for whom he secured jobs, agency con­tracts and record sessions. The major contribution of Dr. Marshall Stearns was his founding of the Institute of Jazz Studies, the unique jazz research center.
The objectives of the present book are twofold. In the early chapters I have attempted to put between covers for the first time some recollections of the early days of jazz. They may help to counterpoise, against the enormous documentation con­cerning New Orleans, a number of views that present other sides of the picture. Recollections of New Orleans have been presented extensively in a dozen books; no attempt has been made here to overlap into this well-covered ground. In the mam this is a book about the present and future of jazz rather than its distant and endlessly chronicled past.
Its second and main objective has been to offer, in narrative form, a series of instrument-by-instrument histories enabling the reader to see each artist's role, period of impact and relative importance, and to correlate this information with the recom­mended phonograph records. These instrumental chapters will, I hope, be of value both to the young jazz fan who asked me the other day *Who is Frank Teschemacher?" and to the older aficionado who meekly inquired: "Who is Al Cohnr There will be areas of information for the musicians themselves; recently