Jazz Reference Sources


  • Carner, Gary.
    Jazz performers : an annotated bibliography of biographical materials
    / compiled by Gary Carner ; foreword by John Chilton. Music reference collection, no. 26 New York : Greenwood Press, 1990. xviii, 364 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML128.B3 C37 1990; MUSIC Chazen ML128.B3 C37 1990

    Alphabetical listings by artist with bibliography entries arranged by author. Author and subject indexes. Appendixes include General Works, Histories and Textbooks, and Reference Books.
  • Gray, John.
    Fire music : a bibliography of the new jazz, 1959-1990 / compiled by John Gray ; foreword by Val Wilmer. Music reference collection, no. 31. New York : Greenwood Press, 1991. xviii, 515 p.

    Contains over 7,000 bibliography entries, with the majority of the citations referring to individual artists.
  • Meadows, Eddie S.
    Jazz research and performance materials : a select annotated bibliography.
    2nd ed. Garland reference library of the humanities ; v. 1471. Garland library of music ethnology ; 4. New York : Garland Pub., 1995. xliii, 806 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML128.J3 M33 1995

    Selective but wide-ranging bibliographic entries, many with annotations. Includes sections on "Technical Materials" on arranging and composing, instructional materials (including method books), and unpublished theses from a variety of disciplines.
  • Voigt, John.
    "Jazz Music: A Selected Bibliography of Available Materials," in Annual Review of Jazz Studies 7 (1994-95): 217-249.
    MUSIC ML3505.8 .A68 1994-95

Highly selective but thus far the only bibliography of jazz scores. Includes both solo transcription anthologies and score-and-part publications that are not technically transcriptions.

Biographical Dictionaries

  • Baker's biographical dictionary of musicians. Centennial ed. / Nicolas Slonimsky, editor emeritus. Published: New York : Schirmer Books, 2001. 6 v.
    MUSIC ML105 .B16 2001

Formerly the standard one-volume biographical dictionary for classical music, popular music and jazz figures have been added. William Ruhlmann edited the entries for popular music, and Lewis Porter for jazz. This edition contains over 14,000 entries, including nearly 2,000 for popular and jazz music. For jazz figures, contains biographical information, with a focus on musical career, and discography.

  • Carr, Ian.
    Jazz : the rough guide / written by Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather, Brian Priestley ; with contributions from Chris Parker ... <et al.> ; photographs by Jak Kilby ... <et al.>. 2nd ed., expanded and completely rev. Music reference series. London : Rough Guides ; New York : Distributed by Penguin Books USA, 2000. xviii, 894 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML102.J3 C325 2000g

Biographical dictionary of roughly 2,000 individual artists, with career information and evaluative discography.

  • Chilton, John.
    Who's who of jazz : Storyville to Swing Street
    / John Chilton ; foreword by Johnny Simmen. 4th ed. New York : Da Capo Press, 1985. 375 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML106.U3 C5 1985

Biographies of American musicians born before 1920; includes many not covered elsewhere.

  • Feather, Leonard G.
    The biographical encyclopedia of jazz
    / Leonard Feather & Ira Gitler, with the assistance of Swing journal, Tokyo. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999. xx, 718 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML102.J3 F4 1999

A recasting and expansion of the three books Feather compiled about jazz musicians in the 1950s-70s. Detailed biographical entries for musicians of a wide range of (overlapping) musical fields of activity. The last of the earlier volumes were current only to 1975, so the new work presents a considerable fund of new material.

  • Southern, Eileen.
    Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians.
    Greenwood encyclopedia of Black music. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1982. xviii, 478 p.

Biographical entries for 1,500 musicians of African descent born between 1642 and 1945, with early jazz and blues figures.


  • Cooke, Mervyn. The chronicle of jazz. London : Thames and Hudson, c1997. 256 p.
    MUSIC ML3506 .C47 1997g.

Elaborately illustrated chronology celebrating important developments year by year, 1895-1995.


  • Carr, Ian.
    Jazz : the essential companion
    / Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather Brian Priestley. 1st Prentice Hall Press ed. New York : Prentice Hall Press, 1988, c1987. 562 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML102.J3 C32 1988

Primarily a biographical dictionary of individuals, but also contains terms relevant to mainstream jazz from its beginnings through 1986. International in scope. Entries generally are brief, with discographies and bibliographical references.

  • The encyclopedia of popular music / compiled & edited by Colin Larkin. London ; New York : Muze ; New York : Exclusive distribution in the USA by Grove's Dictionaries, 1998. 3rd ed. 8 v. (6653 p.)
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML102.P66 G84 1998; BARNARD REFERENCE ML102.P66 G84 1998

Primarily biographical, but contains a significant number of entries for jazz musicians and performing groups, with some historical and terminological entries.

  • Kinkle, Roger D.
    The complete encyclopedia of popular music and jazz, 1900-1950. New Rochelle, N.Y., Arlington House, 1974. 4 v. (xl, 2644 p.).
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML102.P66 K55; MUSIC Chazen ML102.P66 K55

Biographical entries for contributors to American musics, 1900-1950; current to ca. 1974. Includes chronological listing of musicals and popular songs and their composers. Appendixes include jazz poll winners, time-chart of release dates for major record companies, and a numerical listing of recordings by principal record label.

  • The new Grove dictionary of jazz / edited by Barry Kernfeld. 2nd ed. New York : Grove's Dictionaries Inc., 2002. 3 v.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML102.J3 N48 2002

Comprehensive dictionary covering all periods and styles of jazz from many countries. Articles cover individuals, groups and bands, topics and terms, instruments, record companies and labels, and institutions; they are signed, and include bibliographies and selected discographies. Extensive bibliography on jazz and list of contributors in appendixes.

Also available online through LibraryWeb at site for The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.


  • All music guide to jazz : the definitive guide to jazz music / edited by Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, and Stephen Thomas Erlewine. 4th ed. AMG all media guide. San Francisco, CA : Backbeat Books, c2002. xvi, 1472 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML156.4.J3 A45 2002

Earlier editions were error-prone, but later editions more reliable. Arrangement is by performer, with evaluative entries for individual record albums. Also includes brief essays on jazz topics and charts ("musical maps" illustrating connections between various performers and instruments, styles, etc.

  • Cook, Richard. The Penguin guide to jazz on CD / Richard Cook and Brian Morton. 6th ed. London : Penguin, 2002. x, 1730 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML156.4.J3 C67 2002g

Opinionated, provocative, informative guide; entries alphabetically arranged and annotated.

  • Crawford, Richard. Jazz standards on record, 1900-1942 : a core repertory / by Richard Crawford and Jeffrey Magee. CBMR monographs ; no. 4 Chicago : Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago, c1992. xxv, 94 p.
    MUSIC REFERENCE ML156.4.J3 C7 1992

Identifies 97 music titles and lists important recordings of them. Compilation by noted musicologist and published by important jazz resource center.

  • Piazza, Tom. The guide to classic recorded jazz. Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, c1995. xviii, 391 p.
    MUSIC ML156.4.J3 P53 1995

History of jazz which serves as a framework for discussing essential recordings. Organized in two groupings: Ensembles and Soloists.