|The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide is my latest book. It includes entries on
342 great jazz guitarists plus shorter mentions of 219 others. It relates the interesting story of
the jazz guitar, its fight to replace the banjo in the 1920s, to be audible in the '30s, and its
successful battle to be accepted as an important instrument in jazz.
The Jazz Singers has full-length entries on 521 singers. In addition to the historic figures
(from Marion Harris and Billie Holiday to Ella Fitzgerald and Abbey Lincoln, it covers today's
jazz scene in depth with original quotes from 270 jazz vocalists. It also includes a paragraph
apiece on 198 other singers of today, short mentions of 55 often-surprising performers who
recorded as a jazz singer on at least on one occasion, and entries on 30 jazz vocal groups. In
addition, it has my pick for the ten songs
that all singers should try to avoid.
Jazz On Film is a book that was really needed. In it I review 1,400 films, documentaries,
shorts, videos and DVDs, all of which have at least a brief appearance by a jazz instrumentalist
or singer onscreen, not just on the soundtrack. I rate both the music and the quality of the
movies, from 10 (classic) to 1 (stinks).
Jazz On Record – The First Sixty Years is over 800 pages and discusses what every key
jazz performer was up to during each decade. I put some humor and trivia in the time line
sections, kept the thousands of record reviews very short, and portrayed the entire jazz world
during every period. Swing did not disappear in 1945, bebop was still thriving in the 1960s and
70s, and newer styles did not replace older ones. I cut off the book in 1976 when every jazz
style was alive and co-existing with each other.
Jazz: A Regional Exploration discusses the history of jazz and its different styles in an
unusual way, by cities and regions. From New Orleans and Chicago to Kansas City and New
York, jazz had many regional styles, all of which are covered in this survey of the music's first
The trumpet has always been my favorite instrument even though I cannot get a decent note
out of that illogical horn. Trumpet Kings has biographies of 479 trumpeters from all styles
and covers every soloist of importance from 1901-2001. It includes many original quotes
gathered from questionnaires that I sent to all of the living trumpeters and there is a liberal
amount of humor since many trumpeters are simply crazy! From Buddy Bolden to Freddie
Webster, from Jack Sheldon to Dave Douglas, they are all here.
Afro-Cuban Jazz focuses on the history, current scene and legacy of Latin jazz, one of the
most creative styles of music around today. I separated jazz from Cuba from that of Brazil
(which could be a separate book altogether), focusing on the former. The book discusses the
main innovators of each era in alphabetical order from Tito Puente and Cal Tjader to David
Sanchez and Chucho Valdes and has a section called “They Also Recorded Afro-Cuban Jazz”
which talks about the Latin recordings of more mainstream jazz musicians.
Since dixieland and early jazz are my first love, it was only right that I would write a book on the
1920s. Classic Jazz puts the spotlight on the 1917-33 period, from the hot soloists to the early
big bands, the classic blues singers to the famous ensembles. It was a pleasure really digging
into that period, and I do not think that I missed anyone of significance in my biographies or in
my reviews of the era's recordings.
In Bebop, I cover both the classic bop era (1945-49) and the bop-oriented soloists who
matured in later years. The most difficult part about writing this book was separating bop from
cool jazz and hard bop since many musicians and singers constantly cross those boundaries. In
addition to Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Fats Navarro, Thelonious Monk and
their contemporaries, this book discusses the more advanced stylists of the swing era, the swing
big bands’ individual reactions to bop and the many bebop recordings.
I wanted Swing to be a different type of book, not just sticking to the swing era but covering
all aspects of swing music through historic essays, biographies and record reviews. It discusses
swing of the 1920s, the band leaders, top soloists and singers of the Swing era (1935-46) and the
top swing stylists that came to prominence after the big band era ended. In addition, it was the
first mainstream book to take the Retro-Swing movement of the 1980s and ‘90s and groups
such as the Royal Crown Revue and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy seriously.
The third edition of the All Music Guide To Jazz gave me the opportunity to write
thousands of record reviews about everyone from Bix Beiderbecke to Cecil Taylor, Louis
Armstrong to John Coltrane. With its concise biographies and historic essays, it is one of the
major jazz reference books.
Duke Ellington is a beautiful photo book that has many rare shots of Ellington and his
sidemen from the 1920s to the 1970s. I wrote a lengthy biographical essay that accompanies
the classic shots. Ellington was such a remarkable musician (pianist, composer, arranger and
band leader) and during every year of 1926-73, his orchestra ranked with the top five of the
In 2008, I wrote the text to a rather unusual book. The talented Dutch photographer Jaap van
de Klomp traveled the world taking beautiful photos of the graves of scores of jazz immortals.
The large book that resulted, Jazz Lives - Till We Shall Meet And Never Part, is a rather
unique masterpiece and not downbeat in the slightest. I had the honor of writing the 180 or so
biographies and, in addition to the photos of the graves, there is a photo apiece of each
musician and singer in his or her prime. Published in the Netherlands by Bruna Uitgevers, this
will not be an easy book to find and it is not inexpensive, but it is a gem. Look for it on the
Internet at www.JazzLives.nl
|I have written 11 books on jazz. My latest book, The Great Jazz Guitarists was published last spring
2013. Please see below for information on each of them. Prices for all books (except Jazz On Record)
are $30 plus $5 postage and include my autograph if requested. Jazz On Record 1917-76 is $60 plus
$10 postage. Unfortunately no copies of Duke Ellington, Jazz: A Regional Analysis and the All Music
Guide To Jazz are for sale through me at this time.
If you are interested in purchasing one of my books, please send an Email to Scott Yanow.