Originally released in 1955 and reprinted at least into 1962, this is an amazing time capsule looking back into the very early days of jazz. While in 2002, when I write this review, almost everyone in the volume is gone, including J.J. Johnson and Miles Davis, in the perspective of 1955, these two and many others were at the tail end of a long history of jazz to that point. Keepnews and Grauer had at their disposal hundreds of jazzmen who were still alive and could provide firsthand accounts of the days of jazz back to before the turn of the century. Charlie Parker was alive, almost all the swing and Dixieland greats were still around, and the "history" comes off more as a time capsule than a dusty history book. Jammed with photos and minutiae, such as early recording session logs, promotional posters and cards, etc., this is the sort of book that can never be written again. I waited months to find a used copy -- it's worth it. An excellent and encyclopedic volume with few notable gaps.
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