April is Jazz Appreciation Month. It is a special month to draw attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance to American culture. Here are some items on jazz that are available at the .
Understanding Jazz: Ways to Listen. Tom Piazza. 2005.
This book is both a history of jazz and a guide to a deeper appreciation of it. There are simple explanations and analogies to illuminate the basics of listening to a jazz performance. Points from the text are illustrated and reinforced in on the accompanying CD in recordings from some of jazz’s most gifted musicians
Jazz Lives: 100 Portraits in Jazz. Gene Lees. John Reeves, Photographer. 1992.
The author and photographer spent close to four years meeting with jazz musicians from not just the United States, but places like Germany, Brazil, Japan and Russia. The resulting portraits are up close and personal and the accompanying are perceptive and informative
Monterey Jazz Festival: Forty Legendary Years. DVD 1998.
This DVD features archival performance jazz footage of Miles Davis, Jon Hendricks, Sarah Vaughan, Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk and many others interspersed with on-camera commentary from notables. Also includes a jazz trivia game and profiles of selected jazz musicians.
Jazz Romance: a Night in with Verve. CD. 1998.
Here are nearly 60 moody and sentimental jazz songs that could be used as background music at a party or an evening of candlelight romance. This four disc set emphasizes music from the 40’s and 50’s, but there are also more recent entries.
Jazz A-B-Z Wynston Marsalis and Paul Rogers. 2005. Grade 7; Jazz. Walter Dean Myers. 2006. Grades 5-9.
Both books celebrate jazz with poetry and vibrant illustrations. The poems in the Marsalis book are portraits of great jazz musicians while the poetry in Myers’s book focuses on the various styles of jazz. The melding of the words and the pictures in Jazz make it accessible to a younger audience, while Jazz A-B-Z might be better suited to somewhat older children and longtime jazz aficionados.