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Where to Find Jazz Biographies

JazzBiographies.com is the fastest way to find internet jazz biographies. No more wading through fruitless search results!

Click on Contents to see our web pages for over 2000 jazz artists and writers. Each page provides a written biography or links to the best biographies we have found on the web.

Some of the biography websites that we recommend on our pages are listed below. Click on any of the links for a review of that website (with regard to jazz biographies).


Record label websites are also interesting and can provide useful information. The major record labels have substantial biographies. Most offer descriptions of individual CD’s, song lists with audio clips, and online stores. Labels which produce other music as well as jazz can be accessed by musical genre. We favorably compared four large labels with a few differences: ConcordMusicGroup.com offers select free downloads; Bluenote.com has homepage links to articles, news stories, and Bluenote radio; Telarc.com provides a personnel list for each CD. To maintain an artist tour roster for a large label is a daunting task, so it is no wonder that Telarc’s is not complete or that Blue Note’s is mostly blank. However, VerveMusicGroup.com includes tour dates on artist pages along with a variety of links and space for reader comments.

Jazz has always had a large share of the independent label market, so we looked at some well known “indies.” Munich-based ECM (ECMRecords.com), established in 1969 by Manfred Eicher, has a roster that represents artists from around the world. There are album descriptions but no artist biographies; however, the website maintains an up-to-date artist tour schedule. Criss Cross Records, founded in 1980 and based in the Netherlands (CrissCrossJazz.com), has a fascinating feature which allows visitors to look up a song title and access each album in which it is featured. It has no online store but provides links to sellers. Sunnyside Records has been around since 1982 and has a sophisticated website (SunnySideRecords.com) which continually streams complete selections from albums instead of one-minute snippets. The site provides biographies and also offers vinyl for sale.

DownBeat.com Downbeat

Number of jazz biographies 3000+
Words per biography (avg.) 265
Genres covered jazz & blues
Pros The home page has links to current and archival articles from Downbeat magazine. The musician/band home pages have a fixed format with four categories: Bio; Music (which includes albums, imports, singles, compilations, videos and, in a few cases, T-shirts); Archives with links to stories and reviews; and Links to articles, interviews, discographies, or homepages. Numbers at the top of the page link to photographs.
Cons Artists are alphabetized by first name; some significant artists are not represented (Milcho Leviev, Ernestine Anderson); many important artists have little or no information (George Shearing has only links to Mel Torme and Gerry Mulligan; Bireli Lagrene has only a CD review; and in the case of a prolific sideman such as Bill Stewart, there is only one CD as a leader and no information on his many collaborations; many discographies are woefully incomplete (Bill Charlap, Bill Mays); occasional links are not productive. Site is more useful as current news rather than biographies.

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