A great addition to the literature on composition
George E. Lewis, Columbia University

‘Dedicated to Herb Pomeroy (1930
2007), who influenced my music in a way that few others have done, teaching me that it is the musicians in front of you who are important, not the rules, or even the notes that you have written.’

Jazz composer
Graham Collier's radical new analysis of the place of the composer in jazz is nothing less than a complete reassessment of the direction in which the music is developing and a powerful argument for fresh thinking. He focuses on Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Gil Evans, among many other composers, and includes audio and MSS examples from his own work.

The book is not an exhaustive survey, detailing the life and works of every jazz composer who ever lived, not even just the famous ones. Its a philosophical look at the phrase the jazz composer, what it means in jazz, what it means for jazz, what it can mean for the future of jazz.

Part One defining the situation
Part Two showing the way
Part Three rediscovering the potential
Part Four skinning the cat
Part Five
directing 14 Jackson Pollocks


Elsewhere on this site
A synopsis and chapter breakdown
Some extracts and related writings
What the media and readers have said
Audio examples referred to in the book
More audio and analysis
Playing catch-up: new thoughts - and some bloopers discovered
Comments form

Bloody marvelous, even though I wouldnt agree with everything in it.
Ray Comiskey, jazz critic Irish Times



Graham Collier, born in Tynemouth, England in 1937, is a highly regarded jazz composer, whose music has been compared to that of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Gil Evans. He was the first British graduate of the Berklee School of Music, and the first recipient of an Arts Council jazz bursary. He is the author of several previous books on jazz, and for 12 years was artistic director of the jazz course at the Royal Academy of Music. He currently lives in Greece, where he continues to compose, travelling from there to present concerts and workshops around the world. More on Graham at his website, or jazzcontinuum, a collection of his current and previous writings.

Northway Books
are publishers of books on jazz and drama. These include Workout - the Music of Hank Mobley by Derek Ansell, The Little Giant - The Story of Johnny Griffin by Mike Hennessey, and a new edition of Ian Carrs classic text Music Outside, Contemporary Jazz in Britain.

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