Did you know that no one actually knows how the term “jazz” came about? Or that jazz actually originated from pop? Or even that a jazz performance is full of secret hand and body signals? The books in the list are well-researched and detailed accounts of how jazz left its mark on the local history of each of these cities. Here, you’ll find a unique gift for your jazz music aficionado.
Jazz was born of an era when the death and destruction of war was imminent. World War I had transformed America into a fiercely patriotic and determined nation. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it was jazz that rose from this dismal scene to become a generational-defining genre.
High-pitched and upbeat bops flowed through radios nationwide and venues packed with people excited for a night of music and dancing. The jazz genre was transformed into a musical phenomenon and with it, some of the most talented musicians in history: Miles Davis, Freddie Green, William “Cat” Anderson, and Billie Holiday, to name a few. With such a robust history, we know it’s difficult to find the perfect holiday gift for your jazz lover. This list will save you time.
These 8 gifts for jazz lovers will have them feeling 18 karat.
1) Austin in the Jazz Age, by Richard Zelade
When considering cities that were the most influenced by the vivacious uproar surrounding jazz, Austin, Texas most likely isn’t the first on the list. But as jazz took hold of the nation, Austin became an epicenter for the genre. The introduction of jazz transformed the city into one of individualistic and creative attitude. The Jazz Age put Austin on the map as a place for musicians to seek refuge among dedicated fans and like-minded artists. It didn’t take long for Austin to evolve into a hub for talented musicians trying to gain a foothold before venturing out to achieve national fame. Author Richard Zelade invites readers to join him in an exploration of Austin’s Jazz Age in Austin in the Jazz Age.
2) Cape Cod Jazz: From Colombo to The Columns, by John A. Basile
One could call Cape Cod a veteran of the jazz scene. As the genre made a sweep across the country, Cape Cod was one of the earliest to see a boom in its popularity. Early on, Cape Cod had a steady queue of artists that would rise to be some of the biggest jazz stars in history, featuring names like Gerry Mulligan, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, and more. Venues hosted some of the top bands and dancers crowded the halls, inviting a new era a music. In Cape Cod Jazz: From Colombo to The Columns, author John A. Basile takes readers through the detailed evolution from when jazz first came on the scene in the Cape to how it exploded to become one of the most prestigious places for an emerging jazz artist to play.
3) Jazz wall clock
Vinyl has stood the test of time, making its way into the home of music lovers for decades. Whether that record is spinning on a player, filling the room with upbeat tunes, or creatively transformed into a decoration like this jazz wall clock, vinyl shows no signs of stopping. This wall clock captures the essence of any jazz lovers through its fully-customizable option. As the gift giver, you can include your jazz lover’s favorite artists, instruments, colors, and anything else that may love to see hanging in their space. It’s a gift that is truly one-of-a-kind.
4) The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band: More than a Century of a New Orleans Icon, by Sally Newhart
For more than a century, the Tuxedo Jazz Band has been playing all through New Orleans. Beginning in 1910 with a performance at the Tuxedo Dance Hall in Storyville, the band went on to play across New Orleans and eventually the country. In 1953, it was the first jazz band to play at the White House, bringing the genre to a very public national stage. The band served as a starting point for several renowned players: Bob French, Albert French, William Ridgley, Octave Crosby, and Louis Armstrong. As a former Tuxedo Jazz Band player, author Sally Newhart details the long history of this renowned group in The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band: More than a Century of a New Orleans Icon. Her account features oral histories, a photo archive, and a previously unpublished list of members since 1910.
5) Ohio Jazz, by David Meyers, Candice Watkins, Arnette Howard, and James Loeffler
Like Austin, Ohio probably isn’t the first place one considers when naming American jazz havens. But over the past 30 years David Myers, Candice Watkins, Arnette Howard, and James Loeffler have dug into the surprisingly robust history of jazz in Ohio. In 1999, they pieced together “Jazz Ohio,” an exhibit at the Ohio Historical Society detailing the long history of jazz in their state. The exhibit was a hit. It ran for an entire year before being transferred to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ohio Jazz is based on their collective work.
6) “Birth of the Cool” Miles Davis print
Miles Davis’ album “Birth of the Cool” signified a move away from what was considered traditional jazz and is often credited with starting the cool jazz movement. Released by Davis’ record label, Capitol Records, in 1957, the album consists of 11 songs that would become some of his most iconic tracks. This “Birth of the Cool” print showcases the album cover printed on a sturdy and durable wood that comes ready to hang.
7) Charleston Jazz, by Jack McCray
Despite being a hub for American jazz, Charleston, South Carolina’s history of the genre remains largely untold – until now. A wide array of musicians came out of Charleston: Freddie Green, William “Cat” Anderson, and Edmund Thornton Jenkins together built a foundation for what would become a staple in American jazz. Author Jack McCray has spent three decades examining Charleston’s jazz legacy. For the first time ever, he reveals to readers its lush and little-known history in Charleston Jazz.
8) “I heard there would be jazz” t-shirt
Comfy and casual, this “I heard there would be jazz” t-shirt is a one-of-a-kind gift for this holiday season. On the front is blocky lettering fitted around a jazz musician who is playing their trumpet. If there is a different saying or image you have in mind, don’t worry. Send the shop owner a description of your desired copy or image and they’ll happily personalize the gift.
Unwrapping one of these gifts this holiday season is certain to bring a smile to your jazz lover’s face. From books covering the transformative history of jazz to small accessories for the recipient to show the world there are no bounds when it comes to their love of jazz, these presents will make for an unforgettable holiday.