Wisconsin Riffs: Jazz Profiles from the Heartland

By Kurt Dietrich

Hardcover: $40.00

ISBN: 978-0-87020-853-9

580 pages, 114 b&w photos, 6 x 9

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An extensive, upbeat compilation of Wisconsin's jazz musicians

Although New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago are often considered the epicenters of American jazz, this extensive, upbeat compilation of jazz musician biographies details Wisconsin's rich association the genre since the inception of the genre in the early 1900s. Iconic musicians Bunny Berigan, Woody Herman, Les Paul, and Al Jarreau all hailed from Wisconsin, as have many other influential players, composers, and teachers. Wisconsin Riffs features these musicians side-by-side--from the world-renowned to obscure regional artists--to portray a comprehensive history of jazz in Wisconsin.

Through meticulous research and more than a hundred interviews, author Kurt Dietrich has assembled a group of musicians who represent a wide range of backgrounds, ages, stylistic schools, and experiences--from leaders of swing-era big bands to legendary Wisconsin Conservatory instructors to today's up-and-coming practitioners of contemporary jazz and jazz rock. For aspiring musicians, jazz enthusiasts, and fans of Wisconsin culture alike, Wisconsin Riffs presents a compelling, complex, and multi-layered concoction--just like jazz itself.

Kurt Dietrich is a professor of music and the Barbara Baldwin DeFrees Chair in the Performing Arts at Ripon College. He is the author of Duke’s Bones: Ellington’s Great Trombonists, as well as numerous articles for publications including Annual Review of Jazz Studies and Black Music Research Journal. He is a longtime player of jazz and has performed on numerous recordings.