If you are looking for an introduction to jazz, this is it. You just have to lay your hands on
Mookerjee’s 100 page book that pours out in simple language the evolution of jazz music.
An authoritative work of research laced with a bit of humor at times, the well-written book,
chronicles jazz down the ages, era to era, how a musical revolution that allowed the African-
American community to raise their voice and be heard, a voice to bring out their miserable lives
and their feelings.
The author begins with the hisotry of jazz music before its birth, its growth in the US almost 100
years ago. Particularly appreciative, is the sociological and historical implications that the author
provides for various movements, trends and changes that happened down the years from the shift
from New Orleans – the birthplace of Jazz, onto places like Chicago, New York, Detroit,
Memphis to Los Angeles and many other cities. In the process, focus shifting to styles of jazz
which include bebop and cool jazz, Latin American Jazz, Bossa Nova and Gypsy Jazz and more.
Mookerjee is not only articulate in his representation of jazz history, giving good short stories,
but his facts are documented with a suggested listening section at the back of each section of the
book naming composers and performers urging you to give a spin, all this connecting with the
chapter he is talking about.
This move will probably heighten the appreciation of jazz, that the only next left of course is
watching jazz musicians play either live on stage or to put on a favorite DVD.
Jazz music lovers in India will certainly find the book informative, but while the author states in
his back cover note that ‘a brilliant and established form such as Jazz, with its wonderful varied
and intricate sounds merits a large following in India’, he sadly has given a royal miss to
covering the Indian jazz music scene.
Until a few years ago, the well known and well attended Jazz Yatra was a huge crowd puller
with not only Indian acts, but many Indian acts taking part. In recent times, there have been a
host of concerts, stage events and recitals taking place. There was a restaurant, Jazz By the Bay
which changed its name for obvious reasons, which just showed that there was a Jazz following
in India even though small as it maybe. Covering the Indian connect to Jazz, should’ve been a
priority in a book that talks about American and later Europe Jazz. To add to that, a few names
who have been mentioned in the book have performed here. Needless to say we also have a
Godfather of Jazz in India. A chapter or two dedicated to Indian Jazz would’ve given the Indian
perspective of the current scenario here and showcase the young breed who are trying to revive
this sound in their own way. The author’s claim ‘in this country where this music has been
languishing and now almost a forgotten…’ gives a sad story. The dedication page too gives
away what the author intends to do, but doesn’t
That aside, ‘The Jazz Bug’ will appeal to a wide audience, serving as a fascinating introduction
for new fans of Jazz, an invaluable and long-needed book for jazz lovers and musicians, and an
indispensable reference for students and educators. The author has also added a separate chapter
on Jazz instruments detailing their use and the artists that used them. Sound advice we’d say. To
support this, he has also added images of each instrument in a separate chapter. But why, when
the information on the instruments and the images of the instruments could’ve been in one
In an age of prefabricated pop stars, rock music, EDM, Bollywood music, it’s good to look back
on the real music, real melodies and a sound that will never die. With a bang on attractive cover
picture showing jazz in all its finery, The Jazz Bug, is a great pocket friendly sized book to own.