Jazz and its colorful, expansive history resonate in this unique collection of 60 essays specially-commissioned from today's top jazz performers, writers, and scholars. Contributors include such jazz insiders as Bill Crow, Samuel A. Floyd Jr., Ted Gioia, Gene Lees, Dan Morgenstern, Gunther Schuller, Richard M. Sudhalter, and Patricia Willard. Both a reference book and an engaging read, the Companion surveys the evolution of jazz from its roots in Africa and Europe until the present. Along the way, each distinctive style and period is profiled by an expert in the field. Whether your preference is ragtime, the blues, bebop, or fusion, you will find the chief characteristics and memorable performances illuminated here with a thoroughness found in no other single-volume jazz reference. The Oxford Companion to Jazz features individual biographies of the most memorable characters of this relatively young art form. Sidney Bechet, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, and the divas of jazz song-Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan-come to life in thoughtful considerations of their influences, often turbulent personal lives, and signature styles. In addition, this book looks at the impact of jazz on American culture-in literature, film, television, and dance-and explores the essential instruments of jazz and their most memorable players. The Oxford Companion to Jazz will provide a quick reference source as well as a dynamic and broad overview for all lovers of jazz, from novices to aficionados.