Concise Guide to Jazz

Mark C. Gridley  
Total pages
December 2012
Related Titles


An introduction to jazz and how to listen to it


Written by active jazz musician and jazz historian Mark Gridley, the Concise Guide to Jazz was created in response to students and professors asking for a clear and accurate introductory jazz text.  This brief text examines how jazz originated, how it is made, what to listen for, and the major style eras. By focusing on just over fifty historical figures, Concise Guide to Jazz, seventh edition allows students to understand a broad range of jazz styles without feeling overloaded.  Concise Guide to Jazz focuses on the diversity of jazz styles and serves as a basis for further jazz exploration.


This text is available in a variety of formats – digital and print. Pearson offers its titles on the devices students love through Pearson’s MyLab products, CourseSmart, Amazon, and more. To learn more about our programs, pricing options and customization, click the Choices tab.



Learning Goals

Upon completing this book, readers will be able to:

  • Begin to appreciate how jazz is made
  • Know how to extract the most depth of experience from listening to jazz
  • Know who the most historically significant jazz musicians are
  • Know why each significant musician is important
  • Distinguish the main style eras


  • Jazz CD sets- There are several CDs and DVDs which can be packaged with the text:
    • Jazz Classics 2 CD set for Concise Guide to JazzIncludes the 36 historical recordings that are analyzed in the text. This set provides students with a broad overview of jazz styles discussed in the text, and it spares students and instructors from searching for hard-to-locate, high-quality examples of each style.
    • Prentice Hall Jazz Collection CD - These 12 recordings give students a diverse background of jazz styles from the late 1920s to early 2000s. Upon request, the Prentice Hall Jazz Collection CD is complimentary when packaged with the 2 CD Jazz Classics compilation.
    • Listening to Jazz Demonstration DVD and Jazz Demonstration CD - These two resources are specifically designed with non-majors in mind. They demonstrate key concepts in how jazz is made. These can be taught along with the book’s Elements of Music Appendix and Chapter 2, “How to Listen to Jazz,” at the beginning of the semester to orient students to the listening they will be doing later in the book.
    • The Prentice Hall Jazz History DVD - This DVD offers historic films of major jazz performers, from Bessie Smith through Weather Report. A full list of the clips is available on the MySearchLab website.
    • All of the above supplements, in any combination, may be packaged with the book for additional savings.
  • Listening call-outs - Listening suggestions are called out in the margin of the text, encouraging students to study music first hand.
  • Summary - Summaries at the end of each chapter recap important facts, helping readers to focuses on critical information.
  • Key Terms - Bolded and defined in the margin when they first appear, key terms help readers focus on important vocabulary.  Key terms are also listed at the end of the chapter they are first mentioned. 
  • Further Resources - Concluding each chapter, a list of additional readings and song selections is available for students to expand their studies.
  • MySearchLab with Pearson eText - A collection of online homework, assessment products and resources that can help students in any course. MySearchLab is designed with one single purpose - to improve the academic success of all higher education students, one student at a time. MySearchLab contains a Pearson eText, assessment and research/writing tools:
    • Pearson eText - Just like the printed text, students can highlight relevant passages and add their own notes. For even greater flexibility, students can download the eText to a tablet using the free Pearson eText app.
    • Streaming Audio — Features most of the book’s key listening examples, accompanied by active listening guides that comprehensively explain the music for students.
    • Closer Looks — In-depth analyses of musical elements and instruments.
    • Jazz Performers Documentaries- Full-length documentaries on key jazz performers are available on MySearchLab, engaging students in the lives and struggles of jazz musicians.
    • Flashcards — Students can study key terms and concepts with their own personal set of flashcards.
    • Glossary — A glossary of key termsis available in one easy place for students to study important vocabulary
    • Research and writing tools - Access to various academic journals, census data, Associated Press news feeds, and discipline-specific readings. Also, a wide range of composition and grammar tools aid students throughout the writing process, helping them to produce more effective papers.
    • Assessment - Assessment is tied to every chapter, enabling both instructors and students to track progress and get immediate feedback.

New to this Edition

  • “Call Outs” - New “call-outs” for listening and viewing on supplementary CDs, DVDs, and features.
  • Updated material - The “Music Buying Strategies” appendix has been updated. Recommended further reading, listening, and viewing for every chapter has also been updated.
  • New Photos - Nineteen full-color photographs have been added to this edition.
  • Two new selections -  Have been added on to the Jazz Classics CD set:
    • A free jazz recording by Cecil Taylor
    • AMiles Davis fusion band recording featuring Chick Corea.
  • Online listening guides - All 12 historic recordings on the Prentice Hall Jazz Collection CD can now be found online for students’ convenience.
  • Audio-visual explanations - In-depth audio-visual explanations on MySearchLab for blues poetic form, blues chord progression, A-A-B-A song form, instrument timbres, trombone styles, saxophone styles, tempo, meter, and syncopation.
  • MySearchLab  -  A supplementary website, featuring a host of online resources including full eText, streaming audio, and active listening guides.  (MySearchLab available standalone or in a package with the book.)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: What is Jazz?  

Chapter 2: How to Listen to Jazz

Chapter 3: The Origins of Jazz

Chapter 4: Early Jazz

Chapter 5: Swing

Chapter 6: Bebop

Chapter 7: Cool Jazz

Chapter 8: Hard Bop  

Chapter 9: Avant-Garde of the 1960s and 1970s

Chapter 10: Fusion

Chapter 11: 1985 to the Present


Dr. Mark C. Gridley is the author of Jazz Styles: History and Analysis, America’s most widely used introduction to jazz. It emerged from the History and Styles of Jazz course that he had developed at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Jazz Styles has been required for jazz history classes in more than 400 colleges and universities. The book has been translated into 5 foreign languages, and its influence and reference value led to Gridley’s listing in Who’s Who in America. A Cleveland-based jazz flutist-saxophonist-bandleader, Gridley has also conducted field research in Africa and the Caribbean. For his studies of jazz popularity, Gridley earned the Distinguished Achievement Award of the Educational Press Association of America. His articles on jazz styles and teaching jazz appreciation appear in the Grove Dictionaries of Music, Encyclopaedia Britannica, The Black Perspective in Music, Black Music Research Journal, The Musical Quarterly, The Instrumentalist, Current Musicology, College Music Symposium, Popular Music and Society, and Jazz Educator’s Journal. His research on perception and preferences in music and art has been published in several scientific journals.

Instructor Resources