DC Jazz: Stories of Jazz Music in Washington, DC

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Product Details

Georgetown University Press
Publish Date
7.3 X 10.2 X 0.8 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author

Maurice Jackson teaches History and African American Studies at Georgetown University and is the author of Let This Voice be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism. He is a 2009 inductee into the Washington, DC Hall of Fame and was inaugural chair of the DC Commission of African American Affairs.

Blair Ruble is distinguished fellow for programs at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the author of Washington's U Street: A Biography.


The book is as digestible as it is illuminating. . . . As DC Jazz functions as an essential scholarly anchor, it succeeds at illustrating the resilience of the city's jazz landscape amid sometimes challenging social climate.


Takes readers on a relaxing stroll through D.C., visiting venues that first featured jazz musicians to welcoming audiences: The Crystal Caverns, later renamed the Bohemian Caverns, One Step Down and Blues Alley would become legendary hotspots within their own rights. Some artists would go on to perform at much larger, prestigious venues in the District like the Kennedy Center, whose jazz program, currently under the direction of musician/composer Jason Moran, owes its roots to pianist and composer Dr. Billy Taylor.

--The Washington Informer

[The authors] give the reader an excellent survey of the extent of jazz activity and its impact on the national and international scenes. . . . It's a wonderful overview of a city known for many things, but whose imprint on jazz hasn't gotten anywhere near the attention it deserves until the publication of this outstanding book.

--The Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society

The book tells us much about the city beyond geography. It's as 'Official Washington' a book about jazz as one could imagine: wonky, think-tanky, visiting-scholar-y. It's jazz as White Paper. . . . If this sounds like a criticism, rest assured that it is not. The book is precisely what it aspires to be, and a success on its own terms is a success, period. Besides, who's to complain that historians and history nerds want to give more attention to jazz? . . . It is ultimately a cornerstone: an essential reference for more narrative, perhaps lively histories.

--Washington City Paper

A treasure trove of history, deeply researched and often tightly annotated.

--The Georgetowner

Maurice Jackson lends his invaluable expertise in African American and DC history to this vibrant, compelling portrait of the people who brought jazz to life in our nation's capital. Drawing important contributions from scholars and musicians, he and noted scholar Blair Ruble have brought together an extraordinary resource for students of music, American history, and urban life.

--John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University,

Washington, DC has always been one of the historic cities in the development of this music called jazz. It is the home of one of our giants, and a man who was a powerful influence on my own work, the grandmaster Duke Ellington, and the place where my dear friend Billy Taylor grew up. I fondly recall being part of Billy's NPR radio series and his concert series at the Kennedy Center. This book DC Jazz does a marvelous job of detailing some of the many attributes of the DC jazz scene and its incredible community of artists who have made such great contributions to this music as an indelible part of the African music continuum.

--Randy Weston, NEA Jazz Master