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Cover for Classic Jazz

Classic Jazz

A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians

Floyd Levin, Benny Carter (Foreword by)


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Floyd Levin, an award-winning jazz writer, has personally known many of the jazz greats who contributed to the music's colorful history. In this collection of his articles, published mostly in jazz magazines over a fifty-year period, Levin takes us into the nightclubs, the recording studios, the record companies, and, most compellingly, into the lives of the musicians who made the great moments of the traditional jazz and swing eras. Brilliantly weaving anecdotal material, primary research, and music analysis into every chapter, Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians is a gold mine of information on a rich segment of American popular music.

This collection of articles begins with Levin's first published piece and includes several new articles that were inspired by his work on this compilation. The articles are organized thematically, beginning with a piece on Kid Ory's early recordings and ending with a newly written article about the campaign to put up a monument to Louis Armstrong in New Orleans. Along the way, Levin gives in-depth profiles of many well-known jazz legends, such as Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong, and many lesser-known figures who contributed greatly to the development of jazz.

Extensively illustrated with previously unpublished photographs from Levin's personal collection, this wonderfully readable and extremely personal book is full of information that is not available elsewhere. Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians will be celebrated by jazz scholars and fans everywhere for the overview it provides of the music's evolution, and for the love of jazz it inspires on every page.

University of California Press, 9780520234635, 358pp.

Publication Date: April 30, 2002

About the Author

Floyd Levin has been published in many magazines, including Down Beat, Jazz Journal International,and American Rag. He has received several awards for his work, most recently the Leonard Feather Communicator Award given annually by the Los Angeles Jazz Society. He was voted Number One Jazz Journalist in a recent readers' poll in the Mississippi Rag.