This classic study of jazz by renowned composer, conductor, and musical scholar Gunther Schuller was widely acclaimed on its first publication in 1968. The first of two volumes on the history and musical contribution of jazz, it takes us from the beginnings of jazz as a distinct musical style at the turn of the century to its first great flowering in the 1930's. Schuller explores the music of the great jazz soloists of the twenties--Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and others--and the big bands and arrangers--Fletcher Henderson, Bennie Moten, and especially Duke Ellington--placing their music in the context of the other musical cultures and languages of the 20th century and offering original analyses of many great jazz recordings.
Now reissued in paper, Early Jazz provides a musical tour of the early American jazz world for a new generation of scholars, students, and jazz fans.
"Here, at last, is the definitive work...written in the best intellectual tradition. It is clear, thorough, objective, sophisticated and original. A remarkable book by any standard, it is unparalleled in the literature of jazz."--Frank Conroy, The New York Times Book Review
"A remarkable breakthrough in musical analysis of jazz. I emphasize musical because that's the element of jazz least often written about with this degree of skill and clarity."--Nat Hentoff
"A superb job, in its thorough scholarship, its critical perception, and its love and respect for its subject. All future commentary on jazz--indeed on American music--should be indebted to Schuller's work."--Martin Williams
"The best informed and most thorough work of jazz criticism thus far...It is just what we who began to love jazz thirty-five years ago wanted but could never find." --Hudson Review
"Jazz...has inspired an enormous literature. The writer always mentioned first among buffs and scholars in Gunther Schuller; his Early Jazz...is a basic book." --Wilson Quarterly