Books About Pittsburgh Jazz Musicians at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Biographies

 

George Benson, guitarist, vocalist

Benson, George with Alan Goldsher
Benson: The Autobiography
Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 2014


Art Blakey, drummer

Gourse, Leslie
Art Blakey: Jazz Messenger
New York: Schirmer, 2002


Paul Chambers, bassist

Palmer, Rob
Mr. P.C.: The Life and Music of Paul Chambers
Sheffield, UK: Equinox, 2012


Kenny Clarke, drummer

Hennessey, Mike
Klook: The Story of Kenny Clarke
Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994 [orig. 1990]


Billy Eckstine, vocalist

Ginell, Cary
Mr. B: The Life and Music of Billy Eckstine
Montclair, NJ: Hal Leonard Books, 2013


Roy Eldridge, trumpet

Chilton, John
Roy Eldridge: Little Jazz Giant
London: Continuum, 2002


Erroll Garner, piano

Doran, James M.
Erroll Garner: The Most Happy Piano
Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press and the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, 1985
(Also has profiles of Pittsburghers whose careers intersected with Garner: Carl McVicker, Bass McMahon, Art Blakey, Ray Brown, Billy Eckstine, Jimmy Pupa, Ben Nozilo, Leroy Brown, Anne Baker, Reid Jaynes and Alyce Brooks.)


Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist

Dance, Stanley
The World of Earl Hines
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1977
(Also the best source for information about singer and bandleader, Lois Deppe.)


Lena Horne, vocalist

Buckley, Gail Lumet
The Hornes: An American Family
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1986
(Author Buckley is Horne’s daughter, born in Pittsburgh in 1937.)

Gavin, James
Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne
New York: Atria Books, 2009

Haskins, James with Kathleen Benson
Lena: A Biography of Lena Horne
Chelsea, MI: Scarborough House, 1991 [orig. 1984]

Palmer, Leslie
Lena Horne
New York: Chelsea House, 1989


Henry Mancini, composer, arranger, pianist

Mancini, Henry with Gene Lees
Did They Mention the Music?
Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, 1989
(Also contains chapter on Max Adkins, conductor of the pit band at Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theater and “the most influential figure” in Mancini’s life.)

Caps, John
Henry Mancini: Reinventing Film Music
Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2012


Dodo Marmarosa, pianist

Salemann, Dieter and Fabian Grob
Flights of the Vout Bug: A Guide to the Recorded Music of Michael “Dodo” Marmarosa
Albany, GA: BearManor Media, 2009
(Primarily a discography but contains a good amount of biographical info throughout.)


Billy May, bandleader, arranger, composer, trumpeter

Mirtle, Jack
The Music of Billy May: A Discography
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998
(Primarily a discography but begins with an 18 page biography.)


Billy Strayhorn, composer, arranger, pianist

Claerbaut, A. Alyce and David Schlesinger, eds.
Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life
Chicago, IL: Bolden, 2015

Hajdu, David
Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn
New York: North Point Press, 1997

Leur, Walter van de
Something to Live For: The Music of Billy Strayhorn
New York: Oxford University Press, 2002


Hosea Taylor, saxophonist

Taylor, Hosea
Dirt Street: A Quintessential Autobiographical
Pittsburgh, PA: 3blindmice, 2007
(Taylor writes mostly about the 1940s in this volume but the photograph section has pictures from the 1940s-2000s. The library is trying to acquire Taylor’s rare second book Yar’s Dream: The Spawning Treewhich chronicles his life in jazz in the 1950s.)


Mary Lou Williams, pianist, arranger, composer

Dahl, Linda
Morning Glory: A Biography of Mary Lou Williams
New York: Pantheon, 1999

Kernodle, Tammy L.
Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams
Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 2004


Collective Biographies that Feature Pittsburgh Jazz Musicians

All the “internationally known” artists from the Pittsburgh Jazz Musicians page have biographical entries in either Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz or the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed., edited by Barry Kernfeld (also available online through library-provided databases under the title Oxford Music Online).

Below are circulating books that have chapters, sections or entries on Pittsburgh jazz musicians.


Alkyer, Frank, et al, eds.
DownBeat — The Great Jazz Interviews: A 75th Anniversary Anthology
New York: Hal Leonard, 2009

features:
George Benson, guitarist
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist


Baggenaes, Roland
Jazz Greats Speak: Interviews with Master Musicians
Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008

features:
Mary Lou Williams, pianist, composer, arranger


Bloom, Ken
The American Songbook: The Singers, the Songwriters, and the Songs
New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2005

features vocalists:
Billy Eckstine
Lena Horne
Dakota Staton
Maxine Sullivan


Britt, Stan
The Jazz Guitarists
Dorset, UK: Blandford Press, 1984

features:
George Benson, guitarist


Burke, Patrick
Come In and Hear the Truth
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2008

features:
Maxine Sullivan, vocalist


Carver, Reginald and Lenny Bernstein
Jazz Profiles: The Spirit of the Nineties
New York: Billboard Books, 1998

features:
Geri Allen, pianist
Jeff “Tain” Watts, drummer


Crouch, Stanley
Considering Genius: Writings on Jazz
New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2006

features:
Ahmad Jamal, pianist


Dance, Stanley
The World of Swing
New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1974

features:
Roy Eldridge, trumpet


Deffaa, Chip
Swing Legacy
Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1989

features:
Maxine Sullivan, vocalist


Dicaire, David
Jazz Musicians, 1945 to the Present
Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2006

features:
Art Blakey, drummer
Kenny Clarke, drummer
Jeff “Tain” Watts, drummer


Dicaire, David
Jazz Musicians of the Early Years, to 1945
Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2003

features:
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist


Doerschuk, Robert L.
88: The Giants of Jazz Piano
San Francisco, CA: Backbeat Books, 2001

features pianists:
Geri Allen
Erroll Garner
Earl “Fatha” Hines
Ahmad Jamal
Mary Lou Williams


Doran, James M.
Erroll Garner: The Most Happy Piano
Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press and the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University, 1985

features:
Anne Baker, vocalist
Art Blakey, drummer
Alyce Brooks, piano
Leroy Brown, saxophonist, bandleader, bassist
Ray Brown, bassist
Billy Eckstine, vocalist
Reid Jaynes, pianist
Bass McMahon, bassist
Carl McVicker, music teacher
Ben Nozilo, drummer
Jimmy Pupa, trumpeter


Enstice, Wayne and Paul Rubin
Jazz Spoken Here: Conversations with 22 Musicians
New York: Da Capo Press, 1994 [orig. 1992]

features:
Art Blakey, drummer


Enstice, Wayne and Janis Stockhouse
Jazzwomen: Conversations with Twenty-One Musicians
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004

features:
Shirley Scott, organ
(Note: Scott was much more of a Philadelphia musician but lived in Pittsburgh in the 1960s while married to saxophonist Stanley Turrentine.)


Freeth, Nick and Cliff Douse
Great Guitarists: A History in Photographs, 1900-2000
San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2001

features:
George Benson, guitarist


Friedwald, Will
A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers
New York: Pantheon Books, 2010

features vocalists:
Billy Eckstine
Lena Horne
Eddie Jefferson
Dakota Staton
Maxine Sullivan


Gelly, Dave
The Giants of Jazz
New York: Schirmer, 1986

features:
Art Blakey, drummer
Ray Brown, bassist
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter
Erroll Garner, pianist
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist


Gelly, Dave
Icons of Jazz: A History in Photographs 1900-2000
San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2000

features:
Art Blakey, drummer
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter
Erroll Garner, pianist
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist


Giddins, Gary
Visions of Jazz: The First Century
New York: Oxford University Press, 1998

features:
Geri Allen, pianist
Art Blakey, drummer
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter
Billy Strayhorn, composer/arranger


Goldberg, Joe
Jazz Masters of the 50s
New York: Da Capo Press, 1965

features:
Art Blakey, drummer


Goldsher, Alan
Hard Bop Academy: The Sidemen of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard, 2002

features:
Art Blakey, drummer


Gourse, Leslie
Blowing on the Changes: The Art of the Jazz Horn Players
New York: Franklin Watts, 1997

features:
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter


Griffiths, David
Hot Jazz: From Harlem to Storyville
Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998

features:
Greely Walton, saxophonist


Hadlock, Richard
Jazz Masters of the Twenties
New York: Da Capo Press, 1986

features:
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist


Janus, Cicily
The New Face of Jazz: An Intimate Look at Today’s Living Legends and the Artists of Tomorrow
New York: Billboard Books, 2010

features:
George Benson, guitarist
Sean Jones, trumpeter
Sammy Nestico, composer/arranger


Jones, Max
Jazz Talking: Profiles, Interviews, and Other Riffs on Jazz Musicians
New York: Da Capo Press, 2000 [orig. 1987]

features:
Billy Eckstine, vocalist
Mary Lou Williams, pianist


Kenney, William Howland
Jazz on the River
Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2005

in the “Steamin’ to the End of the Line: Jazz On, Along, and Beyond the Ohio River” chapter, features:
Lois Deppe, vocalist
Erroll Garner, pianist
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist
Billy Strayhorn, pianist
Mary Lou Williams, pianist


Knauss, Zane
Conversations with Jazz Musicians
Detroit, MI: Gale, 1977

features:
Eric Kloss, saxophonist


Korall, Burt
Drummin’ Men: The Heartbeat of Jazz: The Bebop Years
New York: Oxford University Press, 2002

features drummers:
Art Blakey
Kenny Clarke


Lee, William F.
American Big Bands
Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp., 2005

features bandleaders:
Billy Eckstine
Baron Elliot
Earl Hines
Billy May
Ted Weems


Lees, Gene
Arranging the Score: Portraits of the Great Arrangers
London: Cassell, 2000

features:
Henry Mancini
Billy May


Lees, Gene
Friends Along the Way: A Journey Through Jazz
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003

features:
Ray Brown, bassist
Stanley Turrentine, saxophonist, in a chapter titled “The Pittsburgh Connection”


Lees, Gene
Meet Me at Jim & Andy’s: Jazz Musicians and Their World
New York: Oxford University Press, 1988

features:
John Heard, bassist


Lyons, Len
The Great Jazz Pianists: Speaking of Their Lives and Music
New York: Da Capo Press, 1983

features pianists:
Ahmad Jamal
Mary Lou Williams


Marshall, Wolf
Jazz Guitar Icons
Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard, 2012

features:
George Benson, guitarist


Mathieson, Kenny
Cookin’: Hard Bop and Soul Jazz, 1954-65
Edinburgh, UK: Canongate, 2012 [orig. 2000]

features:
Art Blakey, drummer
Sonny Clark, pianist
Stanley Turrentine, saxophonist


Moody, Bill
The Jazz Exiles: American Musicians Abroad
Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 1993

features:
Kenny Clarke, drummer
Nathan Davis, saxophonist


Mour, Stanley
Innovators of American Jazz
Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2014
[Note: this book is intended for younger readers.]

features:
Mary Lou Williams, pianist, arranger, composer


O’Neal, Hank
The Ghosts of Harlem: Sessions with Jazz Legends
Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2009

features:
Maxine Sullivan, vocalist
Greely Walton, saxophonist


Orr, C. Prentiss, et al
Pittsburgh Born, Pittsburgh Bred: 500 of the More Famous People Who Have Called Pittsburgh Home
Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh 250, Inc., 2008

features:
Max Adkins, arranger, conductor
Chuck Austin, trumpeter, historian
George Benson, guitarist
Harold Betters, trombonist
Art Blakey, drummer
Ray Brown, bassist
Paul Chambers, bassist
Sonny Clark, pianist
Kenny Clarke, drummer
Bob Cooper, saxophonist
Johnny Costa, pianist
Billy Eckstine, vocalist, trombonist
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter
Jerry Fielding, composer, arranger
Erroll Garner, pianist
Slide Hampton, trombonist
Walt Harper, pianist
Beaver Harris, drummer
Joe Harris, drummer
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist
Lena Horne, vocalist
Roger Humphries, drummer
Ahmad Jamal, pianist
Eddie Jefferson, vocalist
Gene Ludwig, organist
Henry Mancini, composer
Dodo Marmarosa, pianist
Billy May, trumpeter, arranger
Grover Mitchell, trombonist
Joe Negri, guitarist
Sammy Nestico, trombonist, arranger
Horace Parlan, pianist
Jimmy Ponder, guitarist
Ethel Smith, organist
Dakota Staton, vocalist
Billy Strayhorn, composer, arranger
Maxine Sullivan, vocalist
Stanley Turrentine, saxophonist
Tommy Turrentine, trumpeter
Jeff “Tain” Watts – drummer
Mary Lou Williams – pianist, arranger


Ramsey, Doug
Jazz Matters: Reflections on the Music & Some of its Makers
Fayetteville, AK: University of Arkansas Press, 1989

features:
George Benson, guitarist


Reisner, Robert George
The Jazz Titans, Including “The Parlance of Hip”
New York: Da Capo Press, 1977 [orig. 1960]

features:
Art Blakey, drummer
Kenny Clarke, drummer
Billy Eckstine, vocalist


Rizzo, Gene
The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time: Ranking, Analysis & Photos
Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard, 2005

features pianists:
Erroll Garner
Earl “Fatha” Hines
Ahmad Jamal
Mary Lou Williams


Shapiro, Nat and Nat Hentoff, eds.
The Jazz Makers: Essays on the Greats of Jazz
New York: Da Capo Press, 1979 [orig. 1957]

features:
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist


Shipton, Alyn
Jazz Makers: Vanguards of Sound
New York: Oxford University Press, 2002

features:
Geri Allen, pianist
Art Blakey, drummer
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist
Mary Lou Williams, pianist


Shribman, David M. and Angelika Kane, eds.
Pittsburgh Lives: Men and Women Who Shaped Our City
Chicago, IL: Triumph Books, 2006

features Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituaries of:
Johnny Costa, pianist
Billy Eckstine, vocalist
Leonard Litman, Copa clubowner
Nicholas P. Lomakin, clarinetist
Stanley Turrentine, saxophonist


Simon, George T.
The Big Bands
New York: Schirmer Books, 1981

features bandleaders:
Billy Eckstine
Earl Hines
Billy May
Ted Weems


Simon, George T.
Simon Says: The Sights and Sounds of the Swing Era: 1935-1955
New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1971

features:
Roy Eldridge, trumpeter
Erroll Garner, pianist
Ted Weems, bandleader


Spagnardi, Ron
The Great Jazz Drummers
Cedar Grove, NJ: Modern Drummer Publications, 1992

features drummers:
Art Blakey
Kenny Clarke
Beaver Harris
Jeff “Tain” Watts


Summerfield, Maurice J.
The Jazz Guitar: Its Evolution and Its Players
Gateshead, UK: Ashley Mark, 1979 [orig. 1978]

features guitarists:
George Benson
Barry Galbraith


Taylor, Arthur
Notes and Tones: Musician-to-Musician Interviews
New York: Da Capo, 1993 [orig. 1977]

features:
Art Blakey, drummer (and he notoriously bad mouths Pittsburgh in his interview)
Kenny Clarke, drummer
Erroll Garner, pianist


Tumpak, John R.
When Swing Was the Thing: Personality Profiles of the Big Band Era
Milwaukee, WI: Marquette University Press, 2008

features:
Billy May, arranger, bandleader, trumpeter


Ullman, Michael
Jazz Lives: Portraits in Words and Pictures
Washington, D.C.: New Republic Books, 1980

features:
Earl “Fatha” Hines, pianist


Yanow, Scott
The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide
Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books, 2013

features guitarists:
Ron Affif
Ron Anthony
George Benson
Ray Crawford
Andy Fite
Barry Galbraith
Eric Johnson
Jimmy Ponder
Ben Sher
James “Blood” Ulmer


Yanow, Scott
Trumpet Kings: The Players Who Shaped the Sound of Jazz Trumpet
San Francisco, CA: Backbeat Books, 2001

features trumpeters:
Al Aarons
Roy Eldridge
Tommy Turrentine
Franc Williams

and those trumpeters not primarily known as such:
Billy Eckstine
Billy May


Please contact the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Music Department for further research assistance.
Email: musicdept@carnegielibrary.org
Phone: 412-622-3105

Created February 2015. Updated June 2017.
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