'Why Jazz? A Concise Guide'

Why Jazz ?What was the first jazz record? Are jazz solos really improvised? How did jazz lay the groundwork for rock and country music? In Why Jazz? author and NPR jazz critic Kevin Whitehead provides lively, insightful answers to these and many other questions, offering an entertaining guide for both novice listeners and long-time fans.

Organized chronologically in a Q&A format, this terrific resource makes jazz accessible to a broad audience. Yet Why Jazz? is much more than an informative Q&A. It concisely traces the century-old history of this American and global art form, from its beginnings in New Orleans up through the current postmodern period. There are brief profiles of major figures of jazz, from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Wynton Marsalis and John Zorn.

In addition, Why Jazz? provides helpful plain-English descriptions of musical terminology and techniques, from “blues notes” to “conducted improvising.”  This compact reference presents a marvelous compilation that belongs on the shelf of anyone who’s ever been interested in jazz.