A must for the novice jazz fan and aficionado alike, in this highly original work Humphrey Lyttleton, a noted authority, goes right back to the roots of Jazz, discussing key figures from the early New Orleans and Chicago scenes and beyond, highlighting key figures, unique styles and the greatest recordings through a thirty year period that defined Jazz music. The inimitable Humph provides plenty of lively historical background and tells insightful anecdotes often taken from the reminiscences of the musicians involved. 'The Best of Jazz', a compendium of two original works on the subject, is split into analysis of distinct eras pre- and post-1931 - ''Basin Street to Harlem'', and ''Enter The Giants'', moving from the ground-breaking early Jazz bands to the rise of revolutionary individual musicians. It is an ideal companion work to 'It Just Occurred to Me' (ISBN: 9781905798179) - Humph's earlier, much-loved book of reminiscences and thoughts on his life and career.
Artists discussed in the book include Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, Bessie Smith, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Billie Holliday and many others.