Poised to become a jazz classic, Gary Giddins' Visions of Jazz: The First Century contains no fewer than 78 chapters illuminating the lives of virtually all major figures in jazz history. From Louis Armstrong's renegade style trumpet playing to Frank Sinatra's intimate crooning, jazz critic Gary Giddins continually astonishes us with his unparalleled insight. In just a few lines, he captures the essence of Louis Armstrong, "He could telegraph with a growl or a rolling of his eyes his independence, confidence, and security. As the embodiment of jazz, he made jazz the embodiment of the individual." Giddins maintains, contrary to the opinion of most jazz enthusiasts, that Armstrongs voice was as much an integral part of creating jazz singing as his trumpet was to creating jazz. Perhaps the most remarkable chapters in the book are those that do pay tribute to the great jazz singers. Billie Holiday profoundly impacted music history, and Giddins eloquently honors her "gutted voice, drawled phrasing, and wayworn features." Many artists, such as Irving Berlin and Rosemary Clooney, have been traditionally dismissed by fans and critics as merely popular derivatives of true jazz. Giddins finally opens the doors of jazz to include these musicians. In addition to this, he devotes an entire quarter of this volume to young, active jazz artists. No other book has so boldly expanded the horizon of jazz and its influences. Visions of Jazz is an evocative journey through the first one hundred years of jazz that will captivate-and challenge-musicians, music critics, and music lovers.
"The publication of Visions of Jazz is a major event because Gary Giddins is our best jazz critic...[It] is the finest unconventional history of jazz ever written--a brilliant, indispensable book."--Alfred Appel, Jr., The New York Times "One of our most skillful jazz critics offers a monumental work of ambition...[Giddins] brings an unerring critical intelligence to his analyses of the music and a formidable grasp of music theory and practice...This is an important book, one that any serious student of jazz will want to own."--Kirkus Reviews "This gigantic book of 79 essays amounts, willy-nilly, to a grand, brilliant history of the most American of arts."--The New York Times Book Review, A Notable Book of 1998 "No American writer has ever written better about music, as richly demonstrated in Giddins' Visions of Jazz. This splendid critical history is classic Giddins: breathtaking in its scope, audacious in its erudition, and profoundly mindful of the connection between biography and art."-- Fortune "Giddins' eclectic range and meticulous attention to detail are nothing less than astonishing. Visions of Jazz is a landmark destined to occupy a permanent niche on the shelf of essential jazz literature."--Grover Sales, The Los Angeles Times Book Review "The publication of Visions of Jazz is a major event because Gary Giddins is our best jazz critic....[It] is the finest unconventional history of jazz ever written--a brilliant, indispensable book."--Alfred Appel, Jr., The New York Times Book Review "No American writer has ever written better about music, as richly demonstrated in Giddins' Visions of Jazz. This splendid critical history is classic Giddins: breathtaking in its scope (minstrelsy as well as bebop, Spike Jones as well as Elvin Jones), audacious in its erudition (only Giddins could make a salient link between Dizzy Gillespie and Saul Bellow), and profoundly mindful of the connection between biography and art."--Daniel Okrent, Fortune "Giddins's eclectic range and meticulous attention to detail are nothing less than astonishing. Visions of Jazz is a landmark destined to occupy a permanent niche on the shelf of essential jazz literature."--Grover Sales, The Los Angeles Times Book Review "The definitive compendium by the most interesting jazz critic now at work. [Giddins] knows his subject, his prose is interesting and graceful, his judgments are measured and fair, and the only camp of which he is a member is his own...He understands that jazz is American to the core and that the very essence of America is heterogeneity. It may not be intended as such, but Visions of Jazz is a celebration and reaffirmation of precisely that."--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post "Giddins's singular achievement is to place jazz in an allusive social and cultural context....In Visions nothing is left behind. Giddins has written a captivating chronicle of jazz's perpetual renewal."--Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe "A remarkably nonideological critic, Giddins has long demonstrated a passion for jazz in all its guises...His writing, like the music he loves, is joyously polyphonic, with history, legend, musicology, biography, and performance all rising out of the mix."--The New Yorker "Giddins is never slack. He can stop a reader dead with a riveting summary line ('Miles contained multitudes'); turn cliches into truisms ('Basie knew that if he had your foot, your heart and mind would follow'); or draw the skimming reader's attention back to the show with the verbal equivalent of turning the rhythm around (of Ornette Coleman, for example: 'His quarter-tone pitch remains as fixed as the North Star, directing the listener to a distinctive realm where tears and laughter amalgamate')....His detailed discussion leads you to back to the records and makes you want to hear them through his ears."--John Szwed, Jazziz "Gary Giddins has long been regarded as one of the jazz world's most astute observers. His Visions of Jazz is a massive attempt to encompass the music from its earliest beginnings....The essays are superbly written, manifest examples of the manner in which the best writing about jazz combines historical perspective, social insights, and musical understanding."--Don Heckman, The Los Angeles Times "One of our most skillful jazz critics offers a monumental work of ambition...a canny celebration of jazz as a hotbed of intransigent individuality, of creation-on-the-fly... [While] he brings an unerring critical intelligence to his analyses of the music and a formidable grasp of music theory and practice, his writing has grown so compressed and aphoristic through the years that it now has the burnished weightiness of, say, film critic Manny Farber's work. Giddins has become a master of the lightning insight, the unexpected connection (his use of literary anthologies is particularly apt).... This is an important book, one that any serious student of jazz will want to own. Deserves a place on the jazz bookshelf alongside the best of Martin Williams and Francis Davis, and you can't get much better than that."--Kirkus Reviews "Titans roamed the land and plied the rivers...Giddins limns them all incisively and often poetically. [His] passion and commitment burn through Visions of Jazz like a hot, blue flame."--Don Asher, The San Francisco Chronicle "Visions of Jazz is as ambitious a history of jazz as has been written, dispensing with a great deal of sentimental myth; Giddins succeeds amazingly in seeing the music whole, relying to an important extend on dazzling exegeses of recorded evidence. (He must have listened to every record ever made.)...If you love the music and want to learn more about it, more about the where, how, and from where it came, Visions of Jazz is a long feast, and an absolute must."--Jim Leigh, Mississippi Rag "Gary Giddins is that rarest of jazz critics. He feels the music as deeply as the artists who make it, and he writes as expressively and with the same depth and breadth as his stellar subjects perform and compose...He writes with such insight, wit, and vigor that one need not be an afficionado [to be] swept up by the power of his prose and the skill of his narrative essays."--Georges Varga, San Diego Union Tribune "Giddins brings to the table an impeccable ear, encyclopedic tastes, a reporter's gift for detail and a scholar's knowledge of jazz history and the urban sprawl of American culture--all filtered through a strikingly eloquent and witty prose style."--Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press "Dazzling intellectual range and finely honed writing....Jazz Creativity is examined against a backdrop of racism, economic depression, political paranoia and democratic experimantation."--Norma Weinstein, Pulse "A hard gem of criticism, worthy of a Priestly or WIlson, getting to the heart of each artist's contribution through close analysis of his or her body or work and explaining it eloquently."--Don Rose, Chicago Tribune "As a musical commentator...Mr. Giddins is hard to beat....[his] phenomenal appetite for the sound of the new will give all but the most blinkered reactionary an appetite for the unknown. But above all, the overwhelming strength of this book is that it also makes you want to listen afresh to music that you thought you knew well."--Clive Davis, The Washington Times "The most penetrating, persuasive, and engagingly personal overview of the music....Whatever the next century has in store, this century of jazz couldn't receive a better sendoff."--Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Sun-Times "Gary Giddins [is] the finest working jazz critic of the past quarter-century--[Visions of Jazz] is the magnum Giddins opus people have long been waiting for."--Jeff Simon, Buffalo News "The jazz book of the year was Gary Giddins' long-awaited Visions of Jazz, an exhaustive examination of this century's finest jazz musicians, composers, and arrangers [written] without prejudice or stylistic bias."--Ron Wynn, Nashville Scene "Though his greatest gift is a knack for translating musical experience into concrete prose (e.g., first listening to Gerry Mulligan is like 'trying to climb a glass wall'), Giddins is also a consummate historian and fearless contrarian."--Publishers Weekly "A mighty collection."--The Denver Post "Giddins explains music to nonmusicians superbly, and jazz fans who head to the woodshed with his book, Ted Gioia's fine History of Jazz, and a stack o' sides will be gone--real gone!--for days."--Booklist "This is the most revolutionary of recent jazz histories, a new dialectic and a ringing manifesto."--Brian Morton, Times Literary Supplement "Giddins is an invariably eloquent and illuminating critic of jazz and its history. [This book] is particularly impressive upon the greatest figures: Amstrong, Parker, Ellington, Monk, Mingus, Coltrane, Davis, and Powell."--Harold Bloom Praise for the accompanying CD: "Giddins has brilliantly edited a compact dics as a companion to the book. Also titled Visions of Jazz, and issued by Blue Note Records, the CD contains 38 selections programmed along lines traced by the book, with surprising, delightful twists."--Alfred Appel, Jr., The New York Times Book Review
Number Of Pages: 704
Published: 18th May 2000
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.5 x 3.6
Weight (kg): 0.98