Dec 4, 2013 — NPR staff and critics selected more than 200 standout titles. Now it's up to you: Choose your own adventure! Use our tags to search through books and find the perfect read for yourself or someone else.
Oct 19, 2013 — The jazz legend practiced his saxophone 10 to 15 hours a day before he got his big break, and while he wasn't the most reliable husband, when it came to music, he never wavered. Scholar Stanley Crouch's Kansas City Lightning is the first of a two-volume biography of Parker.
Sep 28, 2013 — Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar is one of the last living links to an era when Asian-Americans began to make a name for themselves in jazz. Now, at the age of 83, he's sharing his story in an autobiography.
Sep 27, 2013 — Stanley Crouch, one of the nation's most prominent jazz critics, is the author of the just-released Kansas City Lightning — part one of a biography of Charlie "Bird" Parker. Reviewer Craig Morgan Teicher says the story starts a little slowly, but when Parker picks up the saxophone, Crouch's writing cooks.
Aug 8, 2013 — A lengthy interview with Leonard Bernstein. One man's quest to understand obsessive Phish fandom. A look at the life of a jazz legend. We survey these and other highlights of music-themed books worth reading this summer.
Apr 17, 2013 — The South African trumpeter is one of the giants of African music. Over his long career, he pioneered jazz fusion and even managed to bump the Rolling Stones from the U.S. charts. Still, at age 74, he says, "I feel like I'm just beginning."
Mar 9, 2013 — Dameron was a composer and pianist who fused the sophisticated arrangements of the Big Band era with bebop's complex harmonies. A new biography shines a light on the too-brief life of the man known as "The Architect of Bop."
Dec 22, 2012 — On subjects familiar (Beethoven's Fifth) and obscure (notoriously tight-lipped cult artists), our favorite writing about music dove deep and showed us new ways to love the sounds in our lives.
Dec 28, 2011 — The NPR Music staff presents 12 titles that range from the art of album covers to disco to Def Jam to metal to MTV. This year, our favorite music reads were mostly revealing biographies and wide-spanning analyses.
Dec 17, 2010 — Robin D.G. Kelley's new book, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, focuses on the career of the eccentric jazz pianist and composer. It reveals new details about Monk's life, music and mental health problems, and provides a glimpse into the New York jazz scene of the mid-twentieth century.