Jazz - Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux (2010), 6/10

An absolutely fantastic and comprehensive background and history of jazz. Giddins and DeVeaux also included a great collector's list in the back of 101 records that may help you explore the genre deeper even as an avid jazz enjoyer. Truly but selectively recommended to readers who already enjoy jazz, as it is such an in-depth experience, but if you do enjoy the genre it is fantastic and enjoyable all the way into its conclusion. This is perhaps the best generalized history of jazz you can find without delving into the tangential subgenres of the movement such as free jazz, modern creative, or newly crafted variations. These are even briefly covered so you can't go wrong starting with this collection of artists. The in-depth analysis of individual songs are useful, especially for those of us seeking an education in musicality, as are the explanations of various approaches to jazz as an art form. If nothing else, Giddins and DeVeaux offer a competent approach to tackling the vast history of such a complex genre of music, adding a researched voice to combat the countless books and films riddled with historical and contextual inaccuracies. The inclusion of artists like Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, and Muhal Richard Abrams make this even more true, as these artists represent a sect of music that was too long ignored by historians of American music. This is a fantastic starting point for those seeking a history of jazz and an enjoyable, educational read even for enthusiasts.