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The Library

The Hard Bop

The Hard Bop Library

No need to be quiet in this library. This is the place to read about your favorite musicians in the world of hard bop, including histories, biographies, and music books for the hard bop musician.

Hard Bop: Jazz & Black Music 1955-1965
David H. Rosenthal -- Oxford University Press

Still the classic text on Hard Bop. The book has been long out of print but copies are usually available through Amazon, Powells, even eBay. Though not written as "history" Rosenthal's book is the better for it; part history, part personal remeniscence it is the perfect introduction to the music and it's greatest exponents. If you don't own a copy yet, you're missig a fantastic book. Get it!

Rat Race Blues: The Musical Life of Gigi Gryce
Noal Cohen & Michael Fitzgerald -- Berkeley Hills Books

Easily the best new book on jazz since Gioia's History. Cohen and Fitzgerald are top-notch biographers. Thoroughly researched with a complete discography and a listing of Gryce's compositions. A fascinating read that will go by all too quickly. Highly recommended!

Essentials For The Be Bop Drummer
Artt Frank -- Schaffner Press

A complete guide to the art of be bop drumming from the inside out by a man who was there in the forefront of be bop and played with such greats as Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon and Bud Powell when the role of the jazz drummer was changed forever from simple timekeeper to accompanist in the musical conversation. Introduction by Stan Levey.

Cookin': Hard Bop and Soul Jazz, 1954-1965
Kenny Mathieson -- Canongate Books

As a successor to Rosenthal's book, Cookin' is a huge disappointment. Reliance on sources like the All Music Guide will make knowlegeable fans groan. There are, however, a couple of things to recommend. It is up to date and has some musicians, J.J. Johnson and Sonny Stitt for example, that Rosenthal doesn't cover in depth. Only for completists.

Hard Bop: 16 Jazz Classics for Solo Piano
Hal Leonard -- Music Sales

I tossed this one in for musicians. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of music books devoted to the hard bop era. Perhaps one day Downbeat magazine will make collections available from their columns; they surely have enough to make several books of transcriptions of solos for nearly every instrument. Until then, books like this will have to do.

Blue Note Records: The Biography
Richard Cook -- Secker & Warburg

Cook is one of the authors of the Penguin Guide to Jazz. Definitely not essential. If you're an astute reader of liner notes and have a fairly extensive collection of Blue Note albums, then there will be nothing new in this. Still . . . it's nice to have it all organized chronologically in one place and makes an enjoyable read.

Hard Bop Acadamy: Sidemen of The Jazz Messengers
Alan Goldsher -- Hal Leonard

A new book that came out in December 2002, this will initially turn readers off by its over-the-top informality. However, on closer analysis it has tons of interviews with the members of Blakey's various incarnations of the Messengers, all of them commenting on Blakey as well as other members. The inclusion of folks like Cedar Walton, John Gilmore and Joanne Brackeen makes this book a must-have for hard bop readers.


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