Review by Choice Review
It is difficult to convey the scope and importance of this new dictionary in a brief review. Originally planned as a one-volume, 500-page work, it now occupies two volumes and includes articles on individual musicians, groups, styles of jazz, musical instruments, theory, terminology, festivals, record labels, nightclubs, films, institutions, and individuals who are not performers. It is the largest dictionary of jazz yet published and it attempts to cover all periods and styles from around the world. About 90 of the material is new, although some articles and definitions have been used from the main New Grove (1980) as well as the New Grove dictionaries of American music (1986) and of musical instruments (1984). Most of this borrowed material has been revised or essentially rewritten. All articles are signed and the carefully chosen contributors number 250 of the world's leading experts on jazz. Editor Kernfeld, for example, contributed numerous articles to The New Grove Dictionary of American Music and The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (1986). Most articles on performers include brief selected discographies along with bibliographies (books and articles) on the individuals. In the appendixes are bibliographies of discographies and of other books about jazz plus a list of contributors that identifies their articles. The 220 photographs, uniformly excellent, are drawn mainly from the collection of Frank Driggs. One only wishes there were more. Like other Grove music dictionaries, this one is likely to be definitive. It is also highly entertaining, readable, and informative, useful for generalist and expert alike. It will not put off the casual jazz fan, yet the level of research and scholarship is high throughout without being too obscure or overly academic or bogged down with music theory or terminology. Kernfeld has done an excellent job in this regard. Much more comprehensive than either Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Sixties (CH, Jun '67) or John Chilton's Who's Who of Jazz (CH, Oct '72), this is simply a must for all libraries. -R. M. Johnson, Memphis State University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
This set was intended to be based on The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The New Grove Dictionary of American Music; however, 90 percent of the material is new. Three-fourths of the entries are biographical, but articles also treat theory, instruments, and even the business of jazz. Articles are accompanied by almost 2,000 discographies. The standard reference source on America's contribution to world music.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This massive work deserves highest praise for bringing to jazz music the breadth and rigorous methodology that characterizes Grove projects. Supplementing and updating all extant jazz reference works, this set will prove important for a variety of collections and will not likely be superseded in the near future. Balancing description with evaluation, it provides erudite discussion of an often misunderstood music. Besides giving detailed attention to all styles and periods of jazz, it includes related topics such as jazz films, festivals, and record labels. A 21-page appendix lists jazz reference works, periodicals, and discographies. Highly recommended.-- Paul Baker, CUNA Inc., Madison, Wis. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.