Tex Wyndham’s Reading List

For 22 years Tex Wyndham hosted an educational retreat on Jekyll Island in Georgia several times a year. He provided attendees with a reading list that cuts through the thousands of books on jazz to find the ones truly worth your time.

Tex Wyndham’s Suggestions for Supplemental Reading.

For those who want to explore this subject further, I should warn you that many of the books dealing with this field are worse than useless – filled with inaccuracies, unsupported opinions, and outdated information. I have not come close to reading all of them, but I have read the ones listed below and consider them useful as well as entertaining. I have indicated with “*” those volumes which use a significant number of musical illustrations that would not be understood by someone who cannot read music.

If your local library does not have the title you want, I would try Amazon.com or one of the larger internet dealers in used books.

[Ed. Note: Those items marked with an “*” are also identified by Tex as being about the music itself rather than being popular histories about the life and times of artists. He discusses that distinction, and all but one of the asterisked books, in Texas Shout #14. In Texas Shout #25 he discusses the most notable popular histories available at the time of the column.]

Texas Shout: How Dixieland Jazz Works, by Tex Wyndham.

*Jazz: A History, by Frank Tirro. This volume covers all styles of jazz.

*Early Jazz, by Gunther Schuller

*The Swing Era, by Gunther Schuller

*Ragtime: A Musical And Cultural History, by Edward A. Berlin

*American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950, by Alec Wilder

*Lost Chords: White Musicians And Their Contribution To Jazz, 1915-1945, by Richard M. Sudhalter

They All Played Ragtime, by Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis

Mr. Jelly Roll, by Alan Lomax

We Called It Music, by Eddie Condon and Thomas Sugrue

Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya, edited by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff

Bix: Man And Legend, By Richard Sudhalter, with Philip Evans

In Search of Buddy Bolden, First Man Of Jazz, by Don Marquis

Music On My Mind, by Willie “The Lion” Smith

A Left Hand Like God, by Peter Silvester. This volume deals exclusively with boogie-woogie piano.

Louis Armstrong: An American Genius, by James Lincoln Collier

Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life, by Lawrence Bergreen

Sidney Bechet, Wizard Of Jazz, by John Chilton

Jazz Masters Of The 20’s, by Richard Hadlock

Jazz Singing, by Will Friedwald

King Of Ragtime: Scott Joplin And His Era, by Edward A. Berlin

That American Rag: The Story Of Ragtime From Coast To Coast, by David A. Jasen and Gene Jones

Jelly Roll, Bix And Hoagy, Revised And Expanded Edition: Gennett Records And The Rise Of America’s Musical Grassroots, by Rick Kennedy

Pioneers Of Jazz: The Story Of The Creole Band, by Lawrence Gushee

They All Sang: From Tony Pastor To Rudy Vallee, by Edward B. Marks

I Feel A Song Coming On: The Life Of Jimmy McHugh, by Alyn Shipton

Lost Sounds: Blacks And The Birth Of The Recording Industry, 1890-1919, by Tim Brooks. This fascinating volume does not deal exclusively with ragtime and jazz. It tells the story of every black person who made a commercial recording prior to Mamie Smith’s breakthrough 1920 recording of “Crazy Blues”.

Picture of Tex Wyndham

Tex Wyndham

From roughly 1970-2010, Tex Wyndham was: (1) one of the best-known revivalist Dixieland jazz musicians in the US, as cornetist, pianist and bandleader, (2) one of the best-known ragtime pianists in the US, and (3) one of the most respected critics in the US of Dixieland jazz, ragtime, and related music. He is the only person about whom all three of those statements can be made.

The full run of “Texas Shout” has been collected into a lavishly illustrated trade paperback entitled Texas Shout: How Dixieland Jazz Works.  This book is available @ $20.00 plus $2.95 shipping from Tex Wyndham. On request, Tex will autograph the book and add a personalized note (be sure to tell him to whom the note should be addressed).

Tex Wyndham’s 3 CD Guide to Dixieland with music and commentary is available for $20 plus $2.95 shipping. The separate CD, A History of Ragtime: Tex Wyndham Live At Santa Rosa, is available for $13.00 plus $2.00 shipping. On request, Tex will autograph the inner sleeve and add a personalized note (be sure to tell him to whom the note should be addressed).

Send payment to Tex Wyndham, P.O. Box 831, Mendenhall, PA 19357, Phone (610) 388-6330.

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