Jazz, as an identifiable musical system, originated in the last decade of The nineteenth century and has continued uninterrupted since that time. Richly expressive and honestly creative, it has taken its place in the culture Of America and, indeed, the world, at first as a dance music exclusively and later as a serious artistic activity. It was in its role as dance music that jazz functioned almost entirely during the first thirty years of its recognizable existence, but in the 1920's it suddenly emerged from semi-obscurity and began to receive increasingly more attention in magazines, journals and newspapers as discussion broadened and controversy swelled. By the late 20's the first books and magazines devoted to jazz were appearing, and since that time spoken and written criticism of jazz has steadily increased.
To the present, however, there has been no published bibliography dealing extensively with the writing concerned with this specifically American music; even the connoisseurs of Europe, traditionally far ahead of America in the recognition of jazz, have attempted nothing of this sort. Thus there has been virtually no source to which the student, the layman, or the musician could turn to find what had been written about the music with which he was concerned. It is this gap in the bibliography of the arts of America that the present work attempt to fill.
The literature of jazz is as varied and exiting as the music itself, for not only has a group of competent critics grown up around the idiom but it has been, since the 20's, traditionally fair game for any writer with paper and an outlet for his self-expression. A critical look at this literature reveals much that is shoddy, poorly written and poorly conceived, and yet much that brings an understanding not only of the music but of the cultural milieu in which it has functioned for so many years. The cycles of change in public opinion alone are well worth a detailed interest, but it is the prevailing, vigorous atmosphere, the emergence of defined lines of development, the changes in attitude of musicians and writers alike that make jazz bibliography what it is. The range of content is enormous-from analysis and appreciation of the music to the problem of women in jazz, from history to personal controversies among jazz musicians, form discography to cartoons-and this very diversity brings the vitality and enthusiasm of the music itself to the published literature.
This bibliography is by no means selective, nor is it meant to be so. Rather, it has been compiled with the conviction that, for an initial attempt at least, selection on any basis would tend to distort rather than clarify the . . .