The Wonder of Jazz: Music That Changed The World

by Sammy Stein

This book shares the history, influences, and impact of jazz music. The Wonder of Jazz is like being in a room with some of jazz's coolest people and spending a couple of hours soaking up their passion and knowledge.


Starting with the origins of jazz, this award-winning author, columnist and reviewer shares her knowledge generously and with an authority that makes this new publication a defining work on the subject.


With input from over 100 musicians the book discusses what exactly is jazz, and how do you know you are listening to it?


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Do we truly know when and how jazz first originated? Who was the first jazz musician? How does jazz link to other genres? What about women in jazz? And writers and journalists? Do reviews make any difference?


This book is a deep dive into jazz's history, impact, and future. It discusses the social, cultural, and political influence of jazz and reveals areas where jazz has had an impact we may not even realise. Its influences on hip hop, the connection to third stream, classical, and other art forms are all discussed as well as the future, the impact of young people and how they are changing established canons from within.


The journey this book takes the reader on is one of discovery and revelation. Some of the information comes from research by the author but much comes from those in the music, those who teach, witness the reactions of an audience, and understand how relevant jazz is right now. The book looks at jazz's game changers - the people after whom the music was never the same, civil rights, gender, jazz dynasties, and how jazz musicians have lent their power to deliver political messages in subtle and not so subtle ways. A book about jazz music's vitality, energy, dynamism and its people, the ordinary people making extraordinary music.


Jazzwise magazine said of Sammy's work, "It's all here, beautifully written, eloquently argued, clear-eyed in its intentions and open in its invitation" and Jazz Matters said, "The sheer volume and status of the people who have given up their time to help Sammy, both women, and men, is a testament to the respect Sammy has earned across the industry and the trust people have in her to relay their stories faithfully."


"This new book by Sammy Stein is a highly individual take on jazz past, present, and future that fizzes with enthusiasm and optimism. She has taken the trouble to seek ideas and insights from hundreds of musicians." - Jazz Halo


"In each paragraph of each chapter, a lot of care is taken to provide content that the reader can trust and use character. The Wonder of Jazz already has already a place among the reference books on the genre and it will certainly be cited in future academic and journalistic works." - Geisa Fernandes, journalist


"Whether you are a complete novice or jazz aficionado this book takes a fresh and very current look at the wonderful world of jazz, improvisation and it’s practitioners." - Andy Quin, conductor, composer, musician



About the Author

Sammy Stein is a reviewer, columnist, and author. She writes for Jazz Views, Something Else Reviews, Free Jazz Collective, and is the jazz correspondent for Platinum Mind. She has curated and hosted radio shows, and her books have won praise, including a Jazz Times Distaff Award and a place on their Gearhead list.


Her 'Women In Jazz' book (8th House) won Phace Magazine's Music Book of The Year award. She is International Editor for the Jazz Journalists Association and has had work commissioned into the Library of Congress in America, a huge honour for a non-US writer.


Passionate about jazz music, Sammy curated and organised the London Jazz Platform festival, which showcased acts from the UK, Europe, and America. She has hosted radio series, including Ladies of Jazz, The Freer Side of Jazz, and curates the Jazz Treasure Trove for Jazz Bites Radio.