Monday, February 20, 2012

Five of the best books on jazz

Nat Hentoff is an American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and writes regularly on jazz and country music for The Wall Street Journal.

He named a five best list of books on jazz for the Journal, including:
Norman Granz: The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice
by Tad Hershorn (2011)

Norman Granz was not a musician, but the producer and promoter's world-wide impact on jazz was historic. He enriched and often revived the careers of many jazz masters, choosing to record only those he believed worthy of posterity. Sales were secondary. And in this country, Granz broke the color line during the Jim Crow years by mandating that there be no audience segregation anywhere for his popular "Jazz at the Philharmonic" tours. Before concerts, he even removed the "Colored" signs. In this first-ever biography of an often brusque and unyielding but thoroughly principled jazz missionary, Tad Hershorn has masterfully researched Granz's vivid career, adding new information about the jazz originals he guided and sometimes sparred with. When a distributor of one of Granz's labels complained that one of his artists sold too few copies, Granz roared that if just 1,500 people wanted to hear the musician, that was enough—and he fired the distributor.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue