all that’s Jazz by Sammy Stein
Published in 2017 by Tomahawk Press
Available on AMAZON (Customer reviews give this book a 5-star rating).
I start this review where Sammy Stein ends the book, with three direct quotes from her conclusion. I believe that Sammy’s honesty, awareness and her intention are the best summary…
“It is odd, writing a conclusion to something which is not concluded, because jazz is still evolving, is still young in musical terms and still has surprises to offer.”
“There was never the intention with this book to be some sort of aficionados’ handbook or guide to jazz. I have never pretended to be an expert and I have met many people who know the musical technicalities and understand them far better than I. Rather, it is the bringing together of many individual elements which create the jazz community and explaining a bit about them for the interested reader to create some sort of cohesion.”
“Behind every sound, every artist and every concert or gig there is an army of supportive, interested and engaged people and I hope you are now one of them.”
Sammy Steins asked if I’d review her new book back in the summer. I gladly agreed. Once the book finally arrived, and having skimmed through it. I returned to the front cover seeing if I could pit my wits as if on some game show. Could I get 7 out of 7 names of the musicians images….I managed 5. Slightly miffed, my attention refocused and I noticed the physical weight of the book. This is not some flimsy paperback. It has substance, like a good cookery book and thankfully with the very important squint-free text.
I read the very informative introduction and was immediately impressed. Sadly, paper books have been on the decline in general. Yet with the widespread resurgence of an interest in jazz, and the curative act of a glass of vino, warm Mediterranean sun, sunglasses, a slow roast to thermidor pink in the garden with Sammy’s new book…surely this was the missing link, a digital binary code breaker! Hell this book was about the passion and persistence of jazz as a genre, which is widely regarded as America’s greatest contribution to the world’s musical culture. With this subject maybe the book worm within me still has life!
This book explores the abundant levels of dedication and commitment by the musicians and people involved in the world of Jazz music including the industry that envelopes it. All expanding and contracting with its continued growth and evolution. Sammy succinctly lays out in a well ordered manner the varying facets that are required to make this sometimes cumbersome Jazz industry engine run with fewer coughs and splutters. ‘all that’s Jazz’ is informative and is a book that can be passed on down through succeeding family generations. I could immediately draw parallels with the many varied enthusiastic reflective and sometimes raw opinions about the past, present and future of jazz music peppered like gem stones throughout the fact laden 200 pages of this book.
Sammy Stein, like this review, took her time to produce this well laid out book. Sammy takes you on real journeys of discovery, like some modern day inquisitive Miss Marple of Jazz, uncovering fascinating perspectives from many of the people she interviewed. Whether your a seasoned industry professional or a young budding newbie jazz student. I hope you’ll find as I, a strong definitive backbone of information. This book is no lightweight, laid out in an authoritative manner and empathetically expanded on, which for me ultimately is why this book is of real value, competitively priced and a keeper.
PS: I now know all 7 names…
This book makes an ideal present at anytime of the year, and with the Holiday season arriving this book makes the perfect gift for young or the more mature amongst us!
Direct Purchase link: AMAZON
Sidebar image credits: NickShankland, Helen Petts, Freddy Warren x 2 Steve Speight, Dawid Laskowski, Aleta Eubanks - and (c) info: all rights go to original recording artist/owner/photographer(s)