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Music 204 & 308: Jazz: Jazz Research Help


The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia, Jazz & Blues. Call number: Ref ML 102 .J3 D44 2008 Quarto.

Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. Call number: Ref ML 102 .J3 C66 2006.

More Jazz Encyclopedias can be found in the reference collection at ML 102 .J3.


These can be searched in the Library's catalog or WorldCat using the following subject headings (use alphabetic search):

  • Jazz musicians -- Bibliography
  • Jazz musicians -- Bio-bibliograpy

Bio-bibliographies are found in the Reference Collection at ML 134.


Harvard Dictionary of Jazz. Ref ML 102 .J3 D38 2012.

New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Ref ML 102 .J3 N48 2002 vols.1-3

There are more, shelved with the encyclopedias under the call number ML 102 .J3 ( in the Reference Collection.)


Biographical information can be located in the Library's catalog or WorldCat using a number of subject headings:

  • [Name]
  • [Name] -- Interviews
  • [Name] -- Homes and haunts
  • [Name] -- Pictorial works
  • [Name] -- Protraits
  • Jazz -- Biography
  • Jazz -- [Place] -- Biography
  • Jazz musicians -- Biography
  • Jazz musicians -- [Place] -- Biography
  • Jazz musicians -- [the subdivisions after Name above]
  • [Other genres] -- [subdivisions above] (See list in upper right column.)

Use key words from these at the Library Catalog "Keyword" search screen.

For example:  Gillespie, Dizzy.

And the results:

The library has both individual and collective biographies. Examples of collective bios:

Jazz Makers: Vanguards of Sound = ML 394 .S527 J39 2002

88: The Giants of Jazz Piano = ML 397 .D63 E43 2001

Reading Jazz: A Gathering of Autoiography, Reportage and Criticism from 1919 to Now = ML 3507 .R44 1996

Books on Jazz Music History

These can be located in the Library's catalog using key words from the following subject headings, at the "Guided Keyword" search screen:

  • Jazz -- History and criticism
  • Jazz -- [Place] -- History and criticism
  • Jazz -- Analysis, appreciation

You can also find many of them shelved in the call number range ML 3506 - ML 3509.

Recordings and Videos


Numerous discographies have been published tracing the recorded history of popular music, or popularity rankings. Find them in the Library's catalog or WorldCat using key words from the following subject headings:

  • Jazz -- Discography
  • Jazz -- [Place] -- Discography
  • [Name] -- Discography

You can also find them shelved under the call number ML 156.4 J3 (Reference collection)

Biographies of jazz musicians (see above) may also include a discography.

 Examples of discographies in Reference Collection:

The Penguin Jazz Guide: the History of the Music in the 1,001 Best Albums = ML 156.4 .J3 C67 2010.

Jazz and Ragtime Records, 1897-1942 = ML 156.4 .J3 R87 2002 vols.1-3.


See "Discographies" above, and "Websites" in the right column.


To see a list of videos on a jazz topic:

  • Go to the "Advanced Keyword" search screen.
  • Set your first box to "subject."
  • Set the type to "Digital video disc."
  • Enter jazz genre in "Subject."

Related Areas

The scholarly study of popular music often involves research into the historical, social, economic, and political developments of the time, artistic cross-influences, etc.

Some subject headings that relate to the larger context:

  • Jazz -- Political aspects
  • Jazz -- Religious aspects
  • Jazz -- Social aspects
  • Jazz in motion pictures
  • Jazz -- Drama [=plays about jazz music]
  • Jazz -- Fiction    [= novels about jazz music]
  • Drinking and jazz
  • Prohibition and jazz
  • Jazz -- African influences
  • African-Americans -- Music
  • United States -- Civilization -- African influences
  • Folk music -- United States
  • Blues (Music)
  • Popular culture

Genres of Jazz Music

  • Acid Jazz
  • Avant-Garde Jazz
  • Bebop
  • Big Band
  • Blue Note
  • Chamber Jazz
  • Contemporary Jazz
  • Cool Jazz
  • Crossover Jazz
  • Dixieland
  • Ethio-jazz
  • Free Jazz
  • Fusion
  • Gypsy Jazz
  • Hard Bop
  • Jazz-Funk
  • Jazz Fusion
  • Latin Jazz
  • Mainstream Jazz
  • Modal Jazz
  • Ragtime
  • Smooth Jazz
  • Swing
  • Trad Jazz
  • West Coast

Call numbers for Biographies

Collective biographies ML 385-406

ML 385 - Collective biographies of musicians (general)

ML 390 - Collective biographies of composers or arrangers

ML 395 - Collective biographies of instrumentalists

ML 396-399 - Collective biographies of instrumentalists by instrument

ML 400 - Collective biographies of singers

ML 402-406 - Collective biographies of other music professionals by type

Individual biographies ML 410-ML 429

ML 410 - Composers

ML 416-417 - Keyboardists

ML 418 - String players

ML 419 - Other instrumentalists

ML 420 - Singers

ML 421 - Performing groups

ML 422-429 - Other music professionals by type