A few weeks ago the Rifftides Monday Recommendation was Jeff Sultanof’s new book Experiencing Big Band Jazz. You can read the recommendation here. Sultanof (pictured right) was recently the guest on Michael Fitzgerald’s Jazz Forum program. Discussing his motivation to write the book, he told Fitzgerald what the publisher expected
There was no big band book that was available at the time that wasn’t a fan book. This is a book that—you want to listen to the music?—this is the music. This is not a nostalgia exercise. This is not anything else but the music
First of all, they wanted something for novices, which makes total sense. I write frequently for scholars, and that’s great, but they already know this, or they already know that they want to know more about it. Given the circumstances of the way we are now, people just don’t get a chance to listen to big bands. I said, let’s take these particular recordings, let’s make them available because, thank goodness, we have YouTube. So, the music was out there. Put it in a context. Make it inviting. You give a little history. You tell the reader: What was it? Who wrote it? Where was it recorded? I give a basic explanation, and I give times—”the alto saxophone section comes in and plays a paraphrase of the original, and that occurs at one minute and ten seconds.”
To see and hear the entire Fitzgerald/Sultanof conversation, go here.