Kevin Whitehead, "Why Jazz? A Concise Guide" (Oxford UP, 2011)


Kevin Whitehead's highly readable, informative and entertaining Why Jazz? A Concise Guide (Oxford University Press, 2011) is bookshelf "must have" for anyone who loves jazz - and he does it in a question/answer call and response style that is the perfect format for today's point and click text and twitter world. It's a primer for those who want to know more about the fascinating personalities in jazz from Louis Armstrong to Mary Lou Williams to Anthony Braxton (and Miles, Mingus, Monk and Coltrane); it's a history lesson from New Orleans Dixieland to otherworldly free-jazz. Best of all, Kevin gives the reader a rich trove of musical examples and a wide-ranging discography certain to open new vistas for those who are just digging jazz for the first time as well as aficionados who have been listening for years. Almost a half century ago, historian Will Durant condensed his 11 volumes of a lifetime of research into a small, thin work acknowledging the folly of trying to encompass the complexity of the impossible task before him. Kevin Whitehead has worked a similar miracle in his slim volume Why Jazz? This is a gem of a book that's got passion and insight and beckons those who dig jazz and don't know why as well as those who think they "get it" and want to know more.

Your Host

Doc Stull

View Profile