Main Content

MU 243 - Studies in Jazz History


The following guide is intended to provide an overview of some of the resources available in the library and online for Jazz Studies. For further research assistance, please take advantage of the reference services available to you in the Geisel Library. Stop by the Reference Desk in person or online at  Ask a Librarian.


Reserve Readings List

MU 243: Studies in Jazz History


Research Basics

The reference librarians have created a group of web pages named Research Help designed to help teach you the basics of library research and to introduce you to Geisel Library. Please take advantage of this resource.


Reference Sources for Background Information

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number in the reference stacks near the reference desk. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available on the lower level of the Library. Online reference sources can be found in the library catalog, or listed on Research Help.


Bibliographical Handbook of American Music
     Ref ML120 .U5 k78

Literature of American Music
     Ref ML120 .U5 H7

     Ref ML128 .J3 H461

New Grove Dictionary of Jazz
     Ref ML102 .J3 1994


New Harvard Dictionary of Music
     Ref ML100 .N485 2003

Oxford Dictionary of Music
     Ref ML100 .K35

Dictionary of Musical Quotations
     Ref Ml66 .C86

Biographical Sources

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
     Ref ML105 .B16

Who's Who of Jazz
     Ref Ml106 .U3 C5

Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Sixties
     Ref ML105 .F35

Jazz: The Rough Guide
     Ref ML102 .J3 C325

New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
     Ref ML100 .N48


All Music Guide to Jazz
     Ref ML156.4 .JU3 A45

New Hot Discography: The Standard Directory of Recorded Jazz
     Ref ML156.4 J3 D42

Terms and History

New Grove Dictionary of Jazz
     Ref ML102.J3 N48 2002

New Grove Dictionary of American Music
     Ref ML101.U6 N48 1986

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics Vol. 3 (History of Jazz)
     Ref BH56 E53

New Oxford History of Music
     Ref ML160 .N44

Jazz Talk (Has the history of jazz slang)
     Ref ML102 .J3 G7

History of Jazz
     Ref ML3506 .G54

Encyclopedia of Jazz
     Ref ML102.J3 F4 1960


Return to top


Find Books/Secondary Sources

Subject Headings Suggestions for searching the Catalog:

The following Library of Congress subject headings are relevant to Jazz Studies:

  • Jazz - history and criticism
  • Jazz - Dictionaries
  • Jazz - Bio-bibliography
  • Jazz - Discography
  • Jazz - Encyclopedias
  • Jazz - United States - Biography
  • Music and literature - History - 20th century
  • Art and Music - History - 20th century
  • African Americans
  • African Americans - Biography
  • African Americans - History
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • African Americans in the professions
  • Bop (Music)
  • Swing (Music)
  • Instrumentation and orchestration (Dance orchestra)
  • United States History 1865-1921
  • United States History 1919-1933
  • United States History 1933-1945

Keyword suggestions for searching the Catalog:

  • Jazz
  • Jazz roots
  • Blues
  • Analysis

Names of composers, arrangers and groups:

Style Periods

  1. Early Jazz
  2. Bebop, Hard Bop, Cool
  3. Free Jazz
  4. Fusion and After

Use the * (asterisk) as a truncation symbol to retrieve variant forms of a word root. Use the Boolean OR to expand your search by including synonyms and related terms. When using two different Boolean commands in the same search statement ("and" and "or" in the preceding examples) you must include parentheses to indicate which command is to be performed first.

Some recommended General Collection books found using Subject and Keyword searches in the catalog:

Musical Landscapes in Color: Conversations with Black American Composers
     ML390 .B235 2003

Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to Matisse and Joyce
     ML3506 .A66 2002

Duke Ellington and His World: A Biography
     ML410.E44 L39 2001

Concise Guide to Jazz
     ML3506 .G736 1998

If you are unable to locate materials in the Geisel Library Catalog, search libraries worldwide using WorldCat.


Return to top


Find Journal Articles

Contains the largest selection of Music periodicals of any of Geisel Library's online resources. See JStor III Journal List.

MasterFILE Premier
Similar to the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature, "this multidisciplinary database provides full text for nearly 1,950 general reference publications with full text information dating as far back as 1975. Covering virtually every subject area of general interest, MasterFILE Premier also includes 316 full text reference books, 88,000 biographies, 83,500 primary source documents, and an image collection of 107,000 photos, maps and flags. This database is updated daily via EBSCOhost."

Academic Search Premier
Gain access to full-text as well as indexing and abstracting for a wide range of journal titles covering business, social sciences, humanities, general science, and education.

America: History and Life
Provides abstracts to journal articles, book/media reviews, and dissertations with a focus on United States and Canadian history and culture from prehistoric times to the present. (1964-present)    Journal List (PDF/59KB)

Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Provides indexing to the world's leading arts and humanities journals and selections from social science and science journals. Includes articles, bibliographies, editorials, letters, and reviews. (1980-present)

New York Times
"The New York Times (1851-2001) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue."

LexisNexis Academic
Find full-text newspaper articles from local, national and international papers. Gain access to full-text law reviews as well as company news and financial information, medical information, laws and regulations, polls and surveys, and general reference information.


Return to top


Find Jazz Recordings

Jazz recordings are found in the classification MX400-450. If the disc contains only the recordings of one artist or group, it will be found under MX450, alphabetically by the name of the performer. If the disc is a collection, it will be found under MX400, alphabetically by title.

Jazz-related discs may be found under Blues (MX370-380), World Music (MX600+), Popular music (MX300-310) and Rock (MX340-350).


Return to top


Selected Websites

Jazz Histories and Definitions

Web site to accompany the Academy-award winning documentary on jazz; one can browse by timeline, artist, instrument, or style.

Jazz Roots: a History of Early Jazz
Focuses on the first thirty years, and includes biographies, pictures, suggested recordings, etc.

Louis Armstrong Jazz Oral History Project
From the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

The Styles of Jazz
A graphical chart of jazz styles derived from Joachim Berendt's The Jazz Book.

What is Jazz?
Four hours of lectures and examples on jazz and jazz history by Dr. Billy Taylor, recorded live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. You can listen to the entire lecture in various audio formats, or select the portions dealing with a particular artist or style.

History of Jazz
Lengthy article by Ted Gioia.

Includes a timeline of jazz development and styles, jazz education, retailer information, record labels, jazz instruments, artist information, radio programming, jazz links.

Big Bands Database: Dixieland Overview

Jazz Primer for Rock People

All-Music Guide
The AMG is a complete online database of recorded popular music. Includes the following music styles: rock, folk, jazz, reggae, blues, Cajun, etc. Has biographies and discographies of artists and rates recordings.

Ken Burns Jazz Series (NPR)

Educational material to augment the NPR series. Includes maps, timelines, biographies. Learn to play jazz on the virtual piano.

Jazz Musicians

The websites below are only representative of a plethora of information on the web. Wikipedia features comprehensive articles on jazz artists, and You Tube features live performances of many of them.

Jazz-Institut Darmstadt

Louis Armstrong
The official site for the Louis Armstrong House and Archives.

Louis Armstrong Discography
Detailed Louis Armstrong discography covering his whole career.

Count Basie

"One More Once" A Centennial Celebration of the Life and Music of Count Basie
Essays, pictures, interviews, sound clips and bibliography from the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.

John Coltrane

Official John Coltrane website

Chick Corea

Official Chick Corea website

Miles Davis

The Official Miles Davis Website

Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington

Ella Fitzgerald

Official Website of Ella Fitzgerald
Includes biography, discography, photos and other information

Dizzie Gillespie

BBC Music Profiles: Dizzie Gillespie

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday: The Official Site of Lady Day
Commercial website with biography and photos.

James P. Johnson

RedHotJazz.Com: James Price Johnson
Discography with sound clips

James P. Johnson Foundation Website
Biography, images, links to other sites

Lee Konitz

BBC Radio 3 Jazz Profiles: Lee Konitz

John Lewis (Modern Jazz Quartet)

JazClas: John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet

Wynton Marsalis

Official Wynton Marsalis website

Charles Mingus

The Real Mingus Web

Charles Mingus Home Page [unofficial]
Including bibliography, discography and filmography.

Thelonious Monk

The Thelonious Monk Website

Wes Montgomery

NPR Jazz Profiles: Wes Montgomery
Biography plus streaming video program

Jelly Roll Morton

RedHotJazz.Com: Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton
Discography with sound clips

Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Original Dixieland Jazz Band : ODJB website
Site for current organization includes historical information

RedHotJazz.Com: Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Discography with sound clips

Charlie Parker

A Tribute to Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker Sessionography
Detailed and annotated.

Wayne Shorter

The Complete Wayne Shorter

Bessie Smith

Blues Online: Bessie Smith

RedHotJazz.Com: Bessie Smith

Lester Young

BBC 100 Jazz Profiles

Josef Zawinul

Zawinul Online


Return to top


Style Manual for Music

Writing About Music by Richard Wingell
     ML 3797.W54 2002


Return to top


Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


Return to top