Casual and Incomplete

The valuable Pitchfork list of stuff I should read was mostly rock and pop.  Just for fun, this morning I looked in my library and noted about 20 favorite jazz and 20 favorite classical books.  Autobiographies are the most important, biographies a close second so perhaps paradoxically I left them all off — too hard to chose.  I went with histories, critical studies, and essay collections where the author has a lot of personality and knowledge.  There are probably plenty left out that aren't on my shelves but I've read on loan over the years and couldn't think of offhand.

In no order whatsover — my bookshelves are completely disorganized.

[Update: Whoops!  Two that somehow were staring me in the face but didn't get listed on the first pass were Albert Murray, Stomping the Blues and Art Taylor, Notes and Tones.   Longtime DTM readers know how much I dig both of those!]

Allen Lowe, That Devilin' Tune:  A Jazz History, 1900-1950

Stanley Crouch, Considering Genius

Stanley Dance, The World of Duke Ellington and The World of Count Basie and The World of Earl Hines (These are not really biographies, together they inimitably paint the picture of a particular world)

John Gennari,  Blowin' Hot and Cool:  Jazz and its Critics

Whitney Balliett, Ecstasy at the Onion

David Jasen and Gene Jones, Black Bottom Stomp

Ashley Kahn, The House That Trane Built:  The Story of Impulse Records and A Love Supreme:  The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album (a nice double-shot on the era)

George Lewis, A Power Stonger Than Itself

Loren Schoenberg, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Jazz

Ben Ratliff, The Jazz Ear

Marshall Stearns, The Story of Jazz (what the hell)

Nat Hentoff, Jazz Is (sentimental choice, most would represent Hentoff with Hear Me Talkin' to Ya)

Lewis Porter and Michael Ullmann, Jazz from Its Origins to the Present

A. B. Spellman, Four Lives in the Bebop Business

Barry Kernfeld, The Story of Fake Books: Bootlegging Songs to Musicians

Gerald Early, Tuxedo Junction (only a few essays on jazz, but they are some of my favorites)

Kevin Whitehead, New Dutch Swing

Richard Cook and Brian Morton, The Penguin Guide to Jazz (I have the 5th edition, not sure which is the best one)

Gary Giddins, Rhythm-a-ning (sentimental choice, probably most would say Visions of Jazz)

Dan Morgenstern, Living with Jazz (I actually don't own this yet, but have looked it up in libraries several times)

For classical I again don't have biographies (the list gets too long) but there are a couple of critical studies of a single composer.  A lot of piano in this list.

Louis Andriesen and Elmer Schönberger, The Apollonian Clockwork:  On Stravinsky

Sophia Rosoff and Joseph Prostakoff, Abby Whiteside on Piano Playing

Oscar Levant, A Smattering of Ignorance (what the hell)

Maurice Hinson, A Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire and Music for Piano and Orchestra (these are unbelievable)

Kyle Gann, Music Downtown: Writings from the Village Voice

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise and Listen to This

Joan Peyser, 20th Century Music

Harold Schonberg, The Lives of the Great Composers

Heinrich Neuhaus, The Art of Piano Playing

Joseph Kerman, The Art of Fugue: Bach Fugues for Keyboard, 1715-1750 and Concerto Conversations

Charles Rosen, The Classical Style and The Romantic Generation 

Peter Hill, Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt

David Dubal, Reflections from the Keyboard:  The World of the Concert Pianist (interviews with the best — a deep influence on DTM) and The Art of the Piano (another deep influence on DTM — jeez, I should send Dubal a check.)

Walter Frisch, Brahms and His World

Joseph Horowitz, Understanding Toscanni and The Ivory Trade 

Richard Kostelanetz, On Innovative Music(ian)s

Irwin Bazelon, Knowing the Score: Notes on Film Music (does this count?  Great book, though)

I'm going to cheat and list

Richard Steinitz, György Ligeti: Music of the Imagination (more musicological than most biographies)

Anyone who knows DTM knows that this interview of Gary Giddins by Greg Thomas is right up my alley. Giddins lists several names I don't know:  My old article on the topic keeps getting more and more outdated…