The second installment of Kenny Mathieson's series of jazz histories provides a fine overview to one of the most exciting periods in the music's development.
Cookin': Hard Bop and Soul Jazz, 1954-65 (Canongate Books; $15, paperback; May, 2002); examines the birth and development of two of the key jazz styles of the postwar era, hard bob and its offshoot soul jazz. Hard bop was the most exciting jazz style of its day, and remains at the core of the modern-jazz mainstream even now. It drew on the twin poles of bebop and the blues for its foundation, spiced up with gospel, Latin, and rhythm-and-blues influences. It is characterized by greater technical proficiency as well as more elaborate harmonic structures.
The work looks at the founding fathers of the form, Art Blakey and Horace Silver, and goes on to trace the music and its performers through its peak decade.
Praise for Giant Steps;
Mathieson writes well, and his insights into the music and keen enough that even when covering familiar ground he can sometimes put a new spin on things."
This book will make readers want to return to (or actually discover) the recordings which the author describes in clear and enthusiastic terms."
--Jazz Journal International
KENNY MATHIESON (www.kenmat.dircon.co.uk) is a freelance writer who specializes in music, writing for numerous publications around the world on the subjects of jazz and classical music.