Jazz Makers – Vanguards of Sound

Written for younger readers, this is a set of fifty biographies of major jazz figures, which add up to a short history of jazz. In addition, there are short lives of many other significant musicians, and a very generous resources section which lists further listening, reading and web-browsing.

It spans lives from Scott Joplin and Bessie Smith to David Murray and Geri Allen, as well as devoting attention to several non-American pioneers of jazz.


  • The Pioneers, including Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, and Bessie Smith
  • Swing Bands and Soloists, with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday
  • The Piano Giants, featuring Fats Waller, Art Tatum, and Mary Lou Williams
  • Birth of Bebop, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis
  • Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, and Fusion, with John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Stan Getz
  • A Century of Jazz, featuring Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, and other contemporary greats.


“As a basic reference tool, this should be useful, given Shipton’s thorough scholarship and careful writing and his own experience as a musician.”
— Mississippi Rag

“Thoughtful, concisely written portraits summarize the lives and accomplishments of performers and composers. Well captioned black-and-white photos
and many appendices accompany this useful book.” — The Horn Book Guide