Skip to Main Content

Jazz Resources in the Library: Information About Jazz History, Artists & Composers

This guide describes many of the jazz resources available from the UNC Libraries and explains how to find them.

Books and E-Books About Jazz (onyen required for access to e-books)

The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire by Ted GioiaMost books about jazz are shelved under: ML3506-3509

Most books about the blues are shelved under: ML3521

This image links to the e-book of Ted Gioia's Jazz Standards.

Below is a sample of some of the many e-books and print books the library has on jazz. Search the library catalog to get the call number for the print version or to find more titles.


The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History by Scott DeVeauxJazzwomen: Conversations with Twenty-one Musicians by Wayne Enstice and Janis StockhouseJazz/Not Jazz: The Music and Its Boundaries by David Ake, edited by Charles Hiroshi Garrett, Daniel GoldmarkMadame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists by Leslie GourseThe History of Jazz by Ted GioiaMusic is My Life: Louis Armstrong, Autobiography, and American Jazz by Daniel SteinWhy Jazz?: A Concise Guide by Kevin WhiteheadThe Jazz Book: From Ragtime to the 21st Century by Joachim-Ernst Berendt and G√ľnther HuesmannBird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker by Chuck HaddixBeyond A Love Supreme: John Coltrane and the Legacy of an Album by Tony WhytonJazz in Poland: Improvised Freedom by Igor Pietraszewski, translated by Lucyna StekiewiczJazz and Machine-Age Imperialism: Music, "Race," and Intellectuals in France, 1918-1945 by Jeremy F. LaneJazz Religion, the Second Line, and Black New Orleans: After Hurricane Katrina by Richard Brent TurnerJazz on My Mind: Liner Notes, Anecdotes and Conversations from the 1940s to the 2000s by Herb Wong with Paul Simeon FingeroteListen to This: Miles Davis and Bitches Brew by Victor SvorinichChicago Jazz: The Second Line compiled by Derek Coller and Bert Whyatt DC Jazz: Stories of Jazz Music in Washington, DC edited by Maurice Jackson and Blair A. RubleBillie Holiday: Essays on the Artistry and Legacy edited by Michael V. Perez and Jessica McKeeJazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music by Gerald HorneSt. Louis Jazz: A History by Dennis C. Owsley

Books and E-Books about Artists and Composers (onyen required for access to e-resources)

The library owns thousands of books and e-books about jazz and people related to jazz. You can search for a particular artist in the library catalog or browse the shelves. If you browse the shelves, look in the category below with which the person is most identified, then alphabetically by the person's last name.

ML410   Biographies of composers (eg. Duke Ellington)

ML417   Biographies of pianists (eg. Oscar Peterson)

ML419   Biographies of people primarily known as performers (eg. John Coltrane, Miles Davis)

ML420   Biographies of singers (eg. Billie Holiday)

Books about multiple jazz artists, or books containing interviews with multiple jazz artists are shelved under: ML385 and ML394-395

Oxford Music Online is also an important scholarly source for information about jazz artists and concepts related to jazz.

Search the Library Catalog

Advanced Search | New Books | WorldCat

To find books about jazz or jazz artists, start by searching our catalog

  • Use ALL FIELDS search.
  • Refine your search with limiters on the left side of the screen

Ex. ALL FIELDS: Ornette Coleman
     RESOURCE TYPE: Music recording

Ex. ALL FIELDS: Free jazz

Pay attention to the item's location; there are several collections on campus that have music materials.

When you find a book or recording you are interested in, click on its Subject tab to find similar items.  If the item you want is checked out or we don't own it, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.

Artist Biographies

Artists' websites are important primary sources for biographical and other information.

Also, the resources on the Websites, Journals and Magazines page will contain biographical information about artists.

Liner Notes as a Source of Information (onyen required to access databases)

Many CDs and LPs have liner notes containing valuable information about the works and performers on the recording. Either look up a sound recording in the Library Catalog or look in our streaming audio databases. Be aware that not all sound recordings have liner notes, especially in the streaming databases. Your onyen and password are required for off-campus access to these resources.:

In Naxos Music Library: Jazz, look for the "Booklet" pdf icon for a particular recording.