Music
Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

   
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Hallelujah Junction
Composing an American Life
John Adams
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Bay Area Book of the Year  A book unlike anything ever written by a composer--part memoir, part description and explication of the creative process--Hallelujah Junction is an...
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Improvisation
Its Nature and Practice in Music
Derek Bailey
Derek Bailey’s Improvisation, originally published in 1980, and here updated and extended with new interviews and photographs, is the first book to deal with the nature of improvisation in all its forms—Indian music, flamenco, baroque, organ music...
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Black Music
LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka)
"Jones has learned—and this has been very rare in jazz criticism—to write about music as an artist."—Nat Hentoff Black Music is a book about the brilliant young jazz musicians of the early 1960s: John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Ornette...
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Sparks-Tastic
Twenty-One Nights with Sparks in London
Tosh Berman
In 2008, Tosh Berman — author and publisher of TamTam Books — got on a plane with a single motive: "Sparks Spectacular."
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The Anthology of Rap
Adam Bradley, Andrew DuBois
From the school yards of the South Bronx to the tops of the Billboard charts, rap has emerged as one of the most influential cultural forces of our time. In "The Anthology of Rap", editors Adam Bradley and Andrew DuBois demonstrate that rap is also a...
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Can't Stop Won't Stop
A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
Jeff Chang, DJ Kool Herc
Many good books have been written about the history of hip-hop music and the generation that nurtured it. Can't Stop Won't Stop ranks among the best. Jeff Chang covers the music--from its Jamaican roots in the late 1960s to its birth in the Bronx...
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Lady Sings the Blues the 50th Anniversary Edition
William Dufty, Billie Holiday
Lady Sings the Blues is the fiercely honest, no-holds-barred autobiography of Billie Holiday, the legendary jazz, swing, and standards singing sensation. Taking the reader on a fast-moving journey from Holiday's rough-and-tumble Baltimore...
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But Beautiful
A Book About Jazz
Geoff Dyer
"May be the best book ever written about jazz."--David Thomson, Los Angeles Times In eight poetically charged vignettes, Geoff Dyer skillfully evokes the music and the men who shaped modern jazz. Drawing on photos, anecdotes, and, most important, the...
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Blues and the Poetic Spirit
Paul Garon
Paul Garon knows the blues, from the music itself to the poetry and psychology that are the impetus of its creation. The author of biographies of such blues icons as Peetie Wheatstraw and Memphis Minnie, Garon focuses on the social and political...
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Mingus Speaks
John F. Goodman
A sun speaks. At times promethean, hilarious, and vexing, this is Mingus as spontaneous combustion. The music is in his words.—Recommended by Scott, City Lights Books
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Love Goes to Buildings on Fire
Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever
Will Hermes
Punk rock and hip hop. No wave, disco and salsa. The loft jazz scene and the downtown minimalists. In the mid-1970s, New York City was teeming with musical innovators and cross-pollinations thereof. Hermes paints a breathtaking and panoramic portrait of the era. —Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books. Also recommended by Jeff, City Lights
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Don't Suck, Don't Die
Giving Up Vic Chesnutt
Kristin Hersh
A longform creative obituary written to one of the great American songwriters of the last 25 years. Kristin Hersh (of Throwing Muses) offers this personal glimpse into her extremely complicated friendship with Chesnutt and life on the road as a solo artist in the early 90s playing for nobody. Wounded, prophetic, dreamlike, charming, and bloody...
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A Love Supreme
The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album
Ashley Kahn
Few albums in the canon of popular music have had the influence, resonance, and endurance of John Coltrane's 1965 classic A Love Supreme-a record that proved jazz was a fitting medium for spiritual exploration and for the expression of the sublime...
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Do You Have a Band?
Poetry and Punk Rock in New York City
Daniel Kane
During the late 1960s, throughout the 1970s, and into the 1980s, New York City poets and musicians played together, published each other, and inspired one another to create groundbreaking art. In "Do You Have a Band?", Daniel Kane reads deeply across poetry and punk music to capture this compelling exchange.

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