For its initiates, jazz is instinctive and engaging-the way that popular music should be. For non-aficionados, it can be slippery and difficult to grasp: without familiar forms or a hard-and-fast format, and largely ruled by improvisation, jazz leaves the novice baffled, not sure how to listen, and asking how is it that they know what to play? 30-Second Jazz
explains, in easy, short riffs that keep you engaged, taking readers from the African-American roots of jazz all the way to today's global mix of musicians and styles. Along the way, it looks at the shape, style, and instruments of jazz, at key personalities and recordings in the jazz canon-and at what might be expected next from this most diverse of musical forms.
Dave Gelly, consultant editor, was born at the height of the Swing era. He studied English and Anthropology at Cambridge University, where he played saxophone in the award-winning University band, the line-up for which included Art Themen and Lionel Grigson. From the mid-1960s he co-led his own quartets and quintets with Frank Ricotti, Jeff Scott, and Barbara Thompson. He was also a member of the New Jazz Orchestra, directed by Neil Ardley. He has written extensively on jazz, and has been voted Jazz Writer of the Year. He joined the Observer in 1974 and has written regularly for them ever since.