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Book Details

  • Ebook
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $35.00
  • August 2017
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-66381-5
  • 496 pages
  • License Term (days): 180
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.


Essential Listening

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Scott DeVeaux (Author, University of Virginia), Gary Giddins (Author, The Leon Levy Center for Biography)


The #1 text in the market—now in an Essentials Edition.

Jazz: Essential Listening provides all the materials students need to listen to, understand, and love jazz. Written by two master storytellers, this new brief text combines a dynamic listening experience with vivid narrative history, must-hear masterworks, and a superior eMedia package to reveal the excitement of America’s quintessential music. Authors Scott DeVeaux and Gary Giddins write with intellectual bite, eloquence, and the passion of unabashed fans. They explain what jazz is, where it came from, how it works, and who created it, all within the broader context of American life and culture.


More direct engagement with the music than any other text and listening package

Covering a little over half the repertoire featured in Jazz, the Essentials Edition focuses on the most important figures and their major works. Streamlined in-text Listening Guides focus on key musical details, and recordings are available in two convenient formats. Interactive Listening Guides combine audio with author commentary for guided listening.  

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A concise overview of the concepts and forms specific to jazz

Jazz: Essential Listening teaches students how to recognize the sounds of jazz—how it is made, its characteristic features, and the most common forms. Understanding these basic elements helps students grasp how jazz musicians work together to create timeless performances. 

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The broadest cultural and historical context on the market, emphasizing jazz as black music

Jazz: Essential Listening shows how the basic features of jazz are derived from African or African American musical practice—cyclic form, blues, call and response, polyrhythms, and timbre variation. Every chapter describes the experiences of the musicians who created these masterworks in stunning images and gripping story, allowing many of them to speak for themselves. 

A dynamic story

Two passionate authors—a respected scholar and a leading critic—tell the story of jazz from a first-hand perspective, combining 80 years of shared experience as listeners, performers, critics, and ardent fans. Noted jazz photographer Herman Leonard shares exceptional photographs throughout, along with the work of other top jazz photographers, to present an arresting visual history. 

The best teaching and learning package on the market

Jazz: Essential Listening integrates clear, engaging text with an exceptional electronic media package, providing students the resources to excel in class, and instructors the tools they require to offer a dynamic introduction to jazz both on and offline.


    PART I: Musical Orientation

    Chapter 1 - Musical Elements and Instruments

    Chapter 2 - Jazz Form and Improvisation

      • Bessie Smith, “Reckless Blues”
      • Louis Armstrong, “West End Blues”
      • Charlie Parker, “Now’s the Time”
      • Billie Holiday, “A Sailboat in the Moonlight”
      • Miles Davis, “So What”
      • Free Bridge Quintet, “Midriff” and “The Pot Boiler”

    PART II: Early Jazz (1900-1930)

    Chapter 3 - The Roots of Jazz

      • Georgia Sea Island Singers, “The Buzzard Lope”
      • Bessie Smith, “Reckless Blues”

    Chapter 4 - New Orleans

      • Jelly Roll Morton, “Dead Man Blues”
      • King Oliver, “Snake Rag”

    Chapter 5 - New York in the 1920s

      • James P. Johnson, “You’ve Got to Be Modernistic”
      • Duke Ellington, “Black and Tan Fantasy”

    Chapter 6 - Louis Armstrong and the First Great Soloists

      • Louis Armstrong, "West End Blues"
      • Louis Armstrong/Earl Hines, “Weather Bird”
      • Bix Beiderbecke/Frank Trumbauer, “Singin’ the Blues”

    PART III: The Swing Era

    Chapter 7 - Swing Bands

      • Benny Goodman, “Dinah”
      • Artie Shaw, “Star Dust”

    Chapter 8 - Count Basie and Duke Ellington

      • Andy Kirk/Mary Lou Williams, “Walkin’ and Swingin’”
      • Count Basie, “One O’clock Jump”
      • Duke Ellington, “Conga Brava”

    Chapter 9 - A World of Solists

      • Coleman Hawkins, “Body and Soul”
      • Count Basie/Lester Young, “Oh! Lady Be Good”
      • Billie Holiday, “A Sailboat in the Moonlight”
      • Ella Fitzgerald, “Blue Skies”

    Chapter 10 - Rhythm in Transition

      • Art Tatum, “Over the Rainbow”
      • Charlie Christian, “Swing to Bop” (“Topsy”)

    PART IV: Modern Jazz

    Chapter 11 - Bebop

      • Charlie Parker, "Ko Ko"
      • Charlie Parker, “Now’s the Time”
      • Bud Powell, “Tempus Fugue-It”
      • Dexter Gordon, “Long Tall Dexter”

    Chapter 12 - The 1950s: Cool Jazz and Hard Bop

      • Miles Davis,”Moon Dreams”
      • Clifford Brown, “A Night in Tunisia”
      • Sonny Rollins, “Autumn Nocturne”

    Chapter 13 - Jazz Composition in the 1950s

      • Thelonious Monk, “Rhythm-a-ning”
      • Charles Mingus, “Boogie Stop Shuffle”
      • George Russell, “Concerto for Billy the Kid”

    Chapter 14 - Modality: Miles Davis and John Coltrane

      • Miles Davis, “So What”
      • John Coltrane, “Acknowledgement”
      • Miles Davis, “E.S.P.”

    PART V: The Avant-Garde, Fusion, Historicism, and Now

    Chapter 15 - The Avant-Garde

      • Ornette Coleman, “Lonely Woman”
      • Cecil Taylor, Willisau Concert, Part 3

    Chapter 16 - Fusion I: R & B, Singers, and Latin Jazz

      • Jimmy Smith, “The Organ Grinder’s Swing”
      • Dizzy Gillespie, “Manteca”

    Chapter 17 - Fusion II: Jazz, Rock, and Beyond

      • Weather Report, “Teen Town”
      • Miles Davis, “Tutu”

    Chapter 18 - Historicism: Jazz on Jazz

      • Wynton Marsalis, “Processional”

    Chapter 19 - Jazz Today

      • Jason Moran, “You’ve Got to Be Modernistic”


      • Selected Musicians on Primary Jazz Instruments
      • Primer on Music Notation
      • Glossary
      • Collecting Jazz Recordings
      • Jazz on Film
      • Selected Readings