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Experiencing Big Band Jazz: A Listener's Companion - Listener's Companion (Hardback)
  • Experiencing Big Band Jazz: A Listener's Companion - Listener's Companion (Hardback)

Experiencing Big Band Jazz: A Listener's Companion - Listener's Companion (Hardback)

Hardback 234 Pages / Published: 08/11/2017
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The era of popular music from about 1917 onward saw an explosion of creative songwriting that converged with a new sound from reed, brass, and rhythm instruments. Jazz was born, and the musical sophistication that accompanied this original sound set the stage for the prominence of arrangers, whose role in big band orchestrations became as important as jazz musicians and composers themselves. The Big Band evolved as a unique phenomenon in American music history. With both studio and live vintage recordings readily available, an investigation of how to listen and experience Big Band music is overdue. In Experiencing Big Band Jazz: A Listener's Companion, composer/arranger, music historian, and music editor Jeff Sultanof takes a fresh look at Big Band music, examining why the Big Band era started when it did; how pop music changed to meet the needs of Big Bands and the reverse; the role played by well-known band leaders and the bands they led, the jazz soloists who became legendary, and the stories of several ensembles previously unexamined. Lists of must-hear recordings and videos drawn from studio as well as live sources are also included to make the book an invaluable resource for music lovers of every age.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442242425
Number of pages: 234
Weight: 467 g
Dimensions: 238 x 161 x 21 mm

Big band jazz gets a concise, balanced analysis from Sultanof, a composer-arranger and professor at the Institute of Audio Research in New York City. Sultanof surveys the rise and fall of the music form from its American origins in 1918 through the early 1950s, when the public flocked to dance in packed clubs, to the present day. He examines the bands' popularity through the lavish venues in which they played, and the arrival of radio, improved sound recordings, and booking agencies that brought talent to wider audiences. Sultan writes enthusiastically about the heralded ensembles and arrangements of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller ('Fred Astaire didn't make too many records in his incredible career, but his meeting with the Goodman band and the sextet is pure magic,' Sultanof writes about the song 'Just Like Taking Candy from a Baby'). He is especially astute in documenting the well-received bands of World War II, the yearlong musicians' strike, the singers, the use of foreign rhythms, and the shift to smaller groups. His guide takes readers up through more recent arrangers Gil Evans, Gary McFarland, and Don Sebesky. Sultanof has written a handy, detailed reference for jazz music listeners. * Publishers Weekly *
Sultanof has had a long and distinguished career as composer, arranger, and jazz historian, working with musicians of the caliber of Sonny Rollins and Gerry Mulligan and publishing the arrangements for Miles Davis's legendary 1949-50 Birth of the Cool sessions. Though written for novices, this book will be of value to all lovers of jazz bands, introducing numerous ensembles that may have eluded them. Several of these groups only marginally qualify as jazz, but that's for the good, as styles spread outside of straightforward jazz, and jazz musicians were recruited to play them. Sultanof's choice of songs is tilted toward what's playing on YouTube or Spotify. Thus, readers can listen to cuts while reading about them in the book.... Above all, his knowledge of the band scene from the 1910s to the present is unparalleled. VERDICT This titles should appeal...to everyone interested in jazz or big bands. * Library Journal *
[I]n addition to the absolutely required abilities as an ` ... editor, arranger, composer, and educator,' Jeffrey has also organized the subject cogently and coherently and he has written about it in a style that is clear and concise.... From a musician's perspective, Jeffrey's new book is the closest thing I have ever encountered in written form that depicts and explains what the Jazz big band experience `feels like' and he does it in such a way as to make it possible for the Jazz fan, as well, to go along for the ride. After reading Jeff's book, you'll listen to Jazz big bands with an informed ear. You'll be able to place yourself in the music and vicariously experience the excitement that is Big Band Jazz. Experiencing Big Band Jazz: A Listener's Companion by Jeffrey Sultanof will be the seminal work on the subject for years to come. * Jazz Profiles *
Experiencing Big Band Jazz fills an important gap in the literature of this rich, wonderful, and unsinkable musical idiom with a thoughtful tour through nearly a century of influential recordings. And here's the big payoff: With the musical examples readily available online, you can follow along without having to amass a huge record collection! -- Ray Hoffman, CEO Radio, WCBS Newsradio 880 New York
Jeff Sultanof`s mastery of the history, techniques, and challenges of big band composing and arranging makes this book invaluable to musicians, students, and listeners. He's a storyteller. This is a fascinating read. -- Doug Ramsey, proprietor of the Rifftides blog, author of Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond
When Jeff Sultanof says that a song is a masterpiece, I trust him. In this age of exaggeration, Sultanof's critical acumen, growing out of years of what John Dewey called `learning by doing,' has given music lovers a benchmark guide to an unduly neglected genre. -- Judith Tick, author of Becoming Ella Fitzgerald, Northeastern University
Experiencing Big Band Jazz is the place to start for listeners who want to explore this exciting chapter in American music history. There's no better guide to this subject than Jeff Sultanof, and he has delivered a book that will delight serious jazz fans and broaden the horizons of newcomers to the music. -- Ted Gioia, author of The History of Jazz and The Jazz Standards

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