The New York Times Essential Library (Paperback)
Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings
Times Books, 9780805070682, 272pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 2002
A connoisseur's tour through the great American art form
A Love Supreme. Miles Ahead. Brubeck Time. Yardbird Suite. The Sidewinder. For newcomers just beginning their library of recordings, and for longtime fans looking to deepen their understanding, New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff offers an assertive, deeply knowledgeable collector's guide, full of opinions and insights on the one hundred greatest recorded works of jazz.
From the rare early recordings of Louis Armstrong, through Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman's seminal Carnegie Hall concert, and the lions of the bebop era, to the transformative Miles Davis and several less-canonized artists, such as Chano Pozo, Jimmy Giuffre, and Greg Osby, who have made equally significant contributions, Ratliff places each recording in the greater context and explains its importance in the development of the form. Taken together, these original essays add up to a brief history of jazz, highlighting milestone events, legendary players, critical trends, and artistic breakthroughs.