100 books like Aux Frontières du Jazz

By Robert Goffin,

Here are 100 books that Aux Frontières du Jazz fans have personally recommended if you like Aux Frontières du Jazz. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of To Be, or Not... to Bop

Lilian Terry Author Of Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends: On and Off the Record with Jazz Greats

From my list on to welcome you to the magical world of jazz.

Who am I?

Lilian Terry’s background is quite out-of-the-ordinary. Born in Egypt in 1930 to Maltese and Italian parents, she undertook academic studies in Cairo and Florence. Terry studied classical piano until age 17, developing an interest in jazz in her early teens. She participated in a variety of ways with jazz in Europe, beginning in the 1950s. As a singer, she was an active performer and recording artist. At the same time, she produced radio and television shows for Italy’s RAI network, and this activity led to some of her encounters with major figures of American jazz. Seven of these interactions (most of which spanned decades) are the subject of Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends.

Lilian's book list on to welcome you to the magical world of jazz

Lilian Terry Why did Lilian love this book?

For the same reason I would recommend attending any musical performance by John Birks ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie: Sheer entertainment, surprisingly touching aspects of his personality, instant feelings of friendship shared, and his unbreakable optimism, with which to face and endure whatever life had in store for him. In Italy he was a beloved “Italian,” officially elected honorary citizen of Bassano del Grappa, where we had opened the “Dizzy Gillespie Popular School of Music” that carried an integrated section for blind students. When his memoirs were published he asked me to translate the book into Italian, therefore I had to read it with particular concentration. Many were the moments I would have to shut the book and laugh out loud! Oh yes, Diz the Wiz, or The Joyous Soul of Jazz!     

By Dizzy Gillespie, Al Fraser,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked To Be, or Not... to Bop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You don't have to know John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie's songs to feel his influence. The self-taught trumpet player rose from a poor but musically driven upbringing to become a jazz mastermind, founding the bebop movement and giving rise to Afro-Cuban music.

This extensive biography is intertwined with reflections from famous Gillespie associates Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others. They provide numerous perspectives of Gillespie's early start on the road to fame and the spirited times that would follow.

To Be, or Not . . . to Bop is a unique…


Book cover of In Search of Buddy Bolden: First Man of Jazz

Lilian Terry Author Of Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends: On and Off the Record with Jazz Greats

From my list on to welcome you to the magical world of jazz.

Who am I?

Lilian Terry’s background is quite out-of-the-ordinary. Born in Egypt in 1930 to Maltese and Italian parents, she undertook academic studies in Cairo and Florence. Terry studied classical piano until age 17, developing an interest in jazz in her early teens. She participated in a variety of ways with jazz in Europe, beginning in the 1950s. As a singer, she was an active performer and recording artist. At the same time, she produced radio and television shows for Italy’s RAI network, and this activity led to some of her encounters with major figures of American jazz. Seven of these interactions (most of which spanned decades) are the subject of Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends.

Lilian's book list on to welcome you to the magical world of jazz

Lilian Terry Why did Lilian love this book?

Donald Marquis takes you firmly by the hand and leads you into that Wonderland that was New Orleans from 1877, when Bolden was born; then through the brief but extraordinary rise of Bolden’s personality and the powerful sound of his trumpet echoing through the streets of New Orleans. The author brings out Buddy’s tragic descent into mental illness, his entrance into the Insane Asylum of Louisiana, and his untimely death in 1930 at the young age of thirty-three. The book is a very sober tale of life in those times, it is rooted in the political and artistic history of jazz music and a very touching homage to a ghost. Today there are people wondering if Buddy Bolden really did exist?

By Donald M. Marquis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In Search of Buddy Bolden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The beginnings of jazz and the story of Charles ""Buddy"" Bolden (1877- 1931) are inextricably intertwined. Just after the turn of the century, New Orleanians could often hear Bolden's powerful horn from the city's parks and through dance hall windows. Despite his lack of formal training, his unique style- both musical and personal- made him the first ""king"" of New Orleans jazz and the inspiration for such later jazz greats as King Oliver, Kid Ory, and Louis Armstrong.

For years the legend of Buddy Bolden was overshadowed by myths about his music, his reckless lifestyle, and his mental instability. In…


Book cover of Music is My Mistress

Lilian Terry Author Of Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends: On and Off the Record with Jazz Greats

From my list on to welcome you to the magical world of jazz.

Who am I?

Lilian Terry’s background is quite out-of-the-ordinary. Born in Egypt in 1930 to Maltese and Italian parents, she undertook academic studies in Cairo and Florence. Terry studied classical piano until age 17, developing an interest in jazz in her early teens. She participated in a variety of ways with jazz in Europe, beginning in the 1950s. As a singer, she was an active performer and recording artist. At the same time, she produced radio and television shows for Italy’s RAI network, and this activity led to some of her encounters with major figures of American jazz. Seven of these interactions (most of which spanned decades) are the subject of Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends.

Lilian's book list on to welcome you to the magical world of jazz

Lilian Terry Why did Lilian love this book?

I have three main reasons to love this book: a) it is brilliantly written by Ellington himself; with his gentle-ironical sense of humour and his intention to put down on paper his magic musical world for the entertainment of all generations to come. b) I was fortunate to be “adopted” by him during the last nine years of his life, when “Uncle Eddie” would dictate to me any subject that came to his mind and I would make sure he had his copy, for later use in his book. c) to the last days of his life he was a constant inspiration; as a generous human being and as a universal musician.

By Edward ‘Duke’ Ellington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Music is My Mistress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

}Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one. This is the story of Duke Ellingtonthe story of Jazz itself. Told in his own way, in his own words, a symphony written by the King of Jazz. His story spans and defines a half-century of modern music.This man who created over 1500 compositions was as much at home in Harlems Cotton Club in the 20s as he was at a White House birthday celebration in his honor in the 60s. For Duke knew everyone and savored them all. Passionate about his music and the people who made…


Book cover of The Music of Black Americans: A History

Daryl Cumber Dance Author Of From My People: 400 Years of African American Folklore

From my list on African American folklore.

Who am I?

I'm a devotee of the Word. I collect folklore. I teach literature. Generally I deal with everything from the Greek epics to Jamaican dub poetry, but my focus has been on African American folklore and culture. You might say that I'm something of a proselytizer, dedicated to seeking the Word, collecting and preserving the Word, interpreting the Word, spreading the Word. To paraphrase an old folk saying, "I've got the Word in me, and I can preach it, you know." My numerous collections of folklore have won awards and citations and enthusiastic praise from some impressive personalities and journals, but my greatest reward is witnessing the impact my collections have on ordinary, just plainlongso folk.

Daryl's book list on African American folklore

Daryl Cumber Dance Why did Daryl love this book?

The Music of Black Americans is the unmatched study of AA music. 

I love this book. I frequently reference it in my writing and teaching. There are many other studies of African American literature, but Southern’s is the classic, the key source out of which the other studies grew.

By Eileen Southern,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Music of Black Americans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beginning with the arrival of the first Africans in the English colonies, Eileen Southern weaves a fascinating narrative of intense musical activity. As singers, players, and composers, black American musicians are fully chronicled in this landmark book. Now in the third edition, the author has brought the entire text up to date and has added a wealth of new material covering the latest developments in gospel, blues, jazz, classical, crossover, Broadway, and rap as they relate to African American music.


Book cover of The Jazz Age in France

Jim Fergus Author Of The Memory of Love

From my list on 1920’s Paris les années folles - the “crazy years”.

Who am I?

As a young boy, I dreamed of becoming a novelist. I was fascinated and inspired by Les Années Folles, The Crazy Years of 1920’s Paris, when artists of all disciplines, from countries all around the world came together electrifying the City of Lights with an artistic passion. My mother was French. France is my 2nd country, where I spend a portion of each year. While researching my novel, The Memory of Love, I stayed in the actual atelier of my protagonist Chrysis Jungbluth, a young, largely unknown painter of that era. I visited, too, the addresses of dozens of the artists who bring the era alive again in our imagination. 

Jim's book list on 1920’s Paris les années folles - the “crazy years”

Jim Fergus Why did Jim love this book?

This is a terrific coffee table-sized book with wonderful photographs of the sundry characters and vivid reproductions of paintings and other images. Here you’ll find a young, muscular Pablo Picasso with hair—on the beach in his bathing suit in front of Gerald & Sara Murphy’s villa on the Côte d’Azur. This privileged couple—he a fine avant-garde artist in his own right, and she, who became Picasso’s muse, a refined and elegant hostess—were patrons of the arts who surrounded themselves at their home with the young luminaries of the Jazz Age. Chapter headings in this stunning volume tell the tale.

At 174 large pages, this is a beautifully rendered and specific encapsulation of les années folles, from start to finish.

By Charles A. Riley II,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jazz Age in France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A panorama of the arts scene in Jazz Age France draws on letters, diaries, journals, photo albums, and private archives, in a visual exploration that includes unpublished paintings by Picasso and Leger, previously unknown works by e. e. cummings and John Dos Passos, and more. 15,000 first printing.


Book cover of The Moonlit Murders

Tessa Floreano Author Of Slain Over Spumoni

From my list on Jazz Age mysteries by the sea.

Who am I?

I am fascinated by all that was happening in the world before WWII. Amidst a silent, looming economic collapse, many social norms were turned on their head, women broke out of their molds, and art, literature, technology, and music all flourished. And a heady mix of cultures blended not altogether seamlessly to influence the Roaring Twenties like no other decade before it. The juxtaposition of this exciting yet challenging tumult lures me into reading books and writing immigrant-forward stories about this period—and as an author with deep roots in the boot—I particularly enjoy doing so through an Italian lens.

Tessa's book list on Jazz Age mysteries by the sea

Tessa Floreano Why did Tessa love this book?

This book stands out from other historical mysteries near the sea because it is about a mystery on the high seas. On a steamship, to be exact, on its way to New York harbor. My mom was once a young Italian woman on a steamship sailing to Halifax, and while she was nothing like Fen Churche, the heroine in this story, I’ve always imagined my mom having lots of wild adventures on that Atlantic crossing. The way the author has woven this twisty, tricky tale, I could almost believe mom had an alter ego.

By Fliss Chester,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moonlit Murders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a journey to New York is interrupted by missing diamonds and a body in the lifeboat, there is only one woman who can help: Fen Churche!

1945. Fen Churche follows her dreams and sails for New York. She books passage on a steam ship from France to America, excited to dance the night away in the glamorous ballroom and play games on deck. Nothing will stand in the way of her trip, not even when an eccentric heiress’s diamond tiara goes missing…

Looking forward to relaxing with her favourite crossword puzzles, Fen’s quiet passage is horribly disrupted by another…


Book cover of The Standards Real Book, C Version

Jeb Patton Author Of Introduction to Jazz Piano, A Deep Dive

From my list on for playing jazz tunes and standards on the piano.

Who am I?

I’ve been the pianist for the Heath Brothers and the Jimmy Heath Quartet for over 20 years. Since moving to NYC in 1996, I’ve had the honor of playing and recording with an assortment of jazz luminaries including Charles McPherson, Roberta Gambarini, Lewis Nash, Winard Harper, Rodney Green, Michael Rodriguez, David Wong, among many others. During that time, I’ve also been actively involved in teaching, arranging, and writing, having three books published by Chuck Sher since 2013, An Approach to Comping Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Introduction to Jazz Piano, A Deep Dive.

Jeb's book list on for playing jazz tunes and standards on the piano

Jeb Patton Why did Jeb love this book?

This resource offers a great selection of standards. Some include verses as well. The lyrics, chords, and melody are crystal clear and professionally copied. The look and style of these real books are legendary and very easy to use. I personally own the version in B-flat. This helps me see these tunes in another key and in turn, makes them slightly easier to transpose in general. Knowledge of standards cannot be underestimated in my opinion. For me, hearing how the great jazz pianists interpreted jazz standards is very illuminating.

By Chuck Sher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Standards Real Book, C Version as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Standards Real Book is the most comprehensive book of classic songs in the jazz tradition ever published. Lyrics are included for every song that has a lyric and even the verses are there, especially valuable for vocalists. The book includes the best songs of Gershwin, Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel and many more! The Gold Standard in jazz songbooks.


Book cover of Thelonious Monk - Intermediate Piano Solos

Jeb Patton Author Of Introduction to Jazz Piano, A Deep Dive

From my list on for playing jazz tunes and standards on the piano.

Who am I?

I’ve been the pianist for the Heath Brothers and the Jimmy Heath Quartet for over 20 years. Since moving to NYC in 1996, I’ve had the honor of playing and recording with an assortment of jazz luminaries including Charles McPherson, Roberta Gambarini, Lewis Nash, Winard Harper, Rodney Green, Michael Rodriguez, David Wong, among many others. During that time, I’ve also been actively involved in teaching, arranging, and writing, having three books published by Chuck Sher since 2013, An Approach to Comping Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Introduction to Jazz Piano, A Deep Dive.

Jeb's book list on for playing jazz tunes and standards on the piano

Jeb Patton Why did Jeb love this book?

I love the way Mr. Mathews retains Monk’s personal and instantly recognizable sound while presenting very playable and economical jazz piano arrangements. I would recommend this to jazz piano students looking for a way to play Monk’s music as solo piano pieces. It's nice to be able to reference how to voice these tunes from a master who actually exchanged ideas with Monk himself. The collection includes some of the most popular Monk compositions along with some lesser-known gems.

By Ronnie Mathews, Thelonious Monk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thelonious Monk - Intermediate Piano Solos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

(Artist Transcriptions). Now the intermediate-level pianist can play and study the music of this jazz giant! This collection includes 14 tunes Monk made great, arranged by T.S. Monk band member Ronnie Mathews. Songs include: Brilliant Corners * Criss Cross * Hackensack * Pannonica * 'Round Midnight * Thelonious * Well You Needn't * and more. Also includes a biography, discography, performance notes and more.


Book cover of Hear Me Talkin' to Ya

Franz Douskey Author Of Sinatra and Me: The Very Good Years

From my list on the roots of social change through popular music.

Who am I?

More has been accomplished by music to wake us up that any marches, speeches, injustice, and/or wealth. In the beginning, music and its many forms I followed were an accident. Now I see that music is vital for social expression, intimacy, solitude. The walls in my writing room are covered with photos, CDs, 78s, and most certainly live recordings and books. I feel sorry for the soul(s) who will have to pick through this history when I’ve gone to that Upper Room.

Franz's book list on the roots of social change through popular music

Franz Douskey Why did Franz love this book?

This is a story of Jazz by the musicians who made it. Hear Me Talkin' to Ya is a wide study of the Jazz at its source (New Orleans) through the era of Big Bands and into Modern Jazz, from Kid Ory to Dave Brubeck. This book doesn’t have a narrative or authors’ opinions. This book features passages quoted by Billie Holiday, Mary Lou Williams, Lil Harden Armstrong, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Othello Tinsley, Dizzy Gillespie, and a hundred other musicians.

We’ve entered a second era of inclusion. Women now play an essential role in creating music. Add Lizzie Miles, Anita O’Day, Ethel Waters, Lena Horne, Mary Ann McCall, Alberta Hunter, and Leora Henderson and we get a different perspective of the evolution of music culture.  

By Nat Shapiro, Nat Hentoff,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Hear Me Talkin' to Ya as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hear Me Talkin' to Ya (Dover Books On Music: History)

"Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." — Charlie Parker
"What is jazz? The rhythm — the feeling." — Coleman Hawkins
"The best sound usually comes the first time you do something. If it's spontaneous, it's going to be rough, not clean, but it's going to have the spirit which is the essence of jazz." — Dave Brubeck
Here, in their own words, such famous jazz musicians as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson, Bunk Johnson,…


Book cover of The Chronicle of Jazz

Sammy Stein Author Of Fabulous Female Musicians

From my list on female musicians.

Who am I?

I've been passionate about music for almost my entire life. Jazz music in particular speaks to me but not just jazz. I love music, full stop. I really discovered jazz when I attended a jazz club workshop in London and there, I had to join in or leave. I chose to join in and since then I have never looked back. I was introduced to more jazz musicians and now write about music for three major columns as well as Readers’ Digest. My Women In Jazz book won several awards. I have been International Editor for the Jazz Journalist Association and had my work commissioned by the Library of Congress. 

Sammy's book list on female musicians

Sammy Stein Why did Sammy love this book?

This was my ‘go to’ book for years when I first began to write about music and jazz music in particular.

Cooke explains many things that until then, I had only heard about. The history of jazz music is explained clearly. From Be-bop and hard bop to free jazz and the avante garde. His writing allowed me to put names to music styles I found fascinating and it was as if an author was truly speaking my language. He introduces some well-known jazz musicians and their impact on jazz music 

By Mervyn Cooke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Chronicle of Jazz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A year-by-year history of people and events, this lively multi-layered account tells the whole story of jazz music and its personalities. The Chronicle of Jazz charts the evolution of jazz from its roots in Africa and the southern United States to the myriad urban styles heard around the world today, Mervyn Cooke gives us a narrative rich with innovation, experimentation, controversy, and emotion. The book is completely up to date, exploring the exciting recent developments in the world of jazz, from the rise of modern Big Bands and the renaissance of the piano trio to the popular appeal of Jamie…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in jazz, Europe, and France?

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