Which one is not available from the library?
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Neither one, if you are new to the music. Get hold of the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz. 6 lps. Also available on cd I think (if you must). It documents the early history of jazz right and continues to the modern period. Really well done. It comes with an excellent history booklet that's probably about 30-50 pp if memory serves. This way you can listen to the music that you're reading about and really learn something.
Listen instead of read; try Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Glen Miller; Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Miles. Listen to anything Rudy Van Gelder produced as he was a master at getting the sound right. Don't forget Horace Silver, Lee Morgan and all the great Blue Note recordings of the 50's; I think its the 1500 series that had some of the greatest jazz ever recorded. Vocals, Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Horne, Frank, Tony Bennett, and on and on...in fact, just listen to all the dead jazz guys except Sonny Rollins because they made the best music ever; very few today even come close.
that's a cool suggestion will look to that, yep and I still would like to get One nice book, almost text book like, but in a freindly written manner that talks about how each eras, players plays the music, im not too concerned with personal life stories - there way too many books floating around which emphasised bios and not on the music although I dont know how to read sheet music, I got a freind who would teach me these sometimes not far way
thanks everyone so far for really being helpful, i also read that"complete idiots guide to Jazz' is better than "jazz for dummies", its hard to decide Ken Burns or Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz for that 'first chronologically compiled selection' to start off with, guess either will do, maybe get that Idiots guide as well, and maybe Gridley's Jazz style later on.
Already found i like Duke Ellington's music and really enjoy be-bop (Charlie Shavers and Buck Clayton), getting there slowly.
Listening instead of reading is good advice. But there comes a time when reading adds to the enjoyment. Ted Gioia, an excellent jazz pianist in his own right, has written a very good survey entitled The History of Jazz. It's well worth checking out. And don't sell the autobiographies short: Mingus' Beneath The Underdog is a classic work (the unkind would even say 'yes, of fiction', but what autobio isn't to some extent), and Miles Davis' is well worth reading as well.