History of Jazz by Ted Gioia

Widely considered as a definitive primer on jazz, this comprehensive history by pianist and music historian Ted Gioia will take you on a journey from the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans to Chicago and beyond. This essential book doesn’t just cover the genre’s greatest musicians, but also the pivotal moments and places where past and present legends such as Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Kamasi Washington, and Esperanza Spalding made their marks.

The third edition shines a light on the women who “shaped the genre… and traces the recent developments that have led to an upswing of jazz in contemporary mainstream culture.”

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Best Jazz Books

Miles by Miles Davis

From overcoming his drug addiction to racism in the music industry and beyond, jazz legend Miles Davis doesn’t mince words in his 448-page autobiography, co-written with journalist Quincy Troupe (who wrote his own memoir about his friendship with the musician). Even the most ardent Davis fans are well aware of his Jekyll and Hyde-like persona, and the trumpeter is unapologetic in recounting his failed marriages (and openly admits to abusing his wives) as well as stories about those with whom he shared no shortage of stages (including Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie, among others). It’s accompanied by 32 pages of photos as well as a brief discography.

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