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Chicago Jazz

Quick Links: Jazz dictionaries

AACM and Free Jazz


Writing a paper on Chicago jazz for a class? 

When writing on historic Chicago jazz musicians, start by looking at biographies and musician accounts in the Library's collections, then move on to newspapers and periodical indexes (quick links are under the Home tab on the toolbar above.) When researching more recent jazz musicians, use a search engine to find that person's website; information coming directly from the musician is usually the most reliable. Then check periodical indexes, The Chicago Reader archives, and newspaper indexes.

For most jazz clubs, start with the Nightclubs -- Chicago section of Grove Music, which is part of Oxford Music online; the link is below. Then move to the online Chicago Tribune and Chicago Defender newspapers. For very new clubs, check websites, The Chicago Reader website, and periodical indexes.

The Library's general jazz collection contains resources on major figures, periods, and movements in jazz. These include online resources, books, periodicals, media, and microforms. Selected resources to get started on papers about Chicago jazz are found below; use the Library Catalog to find music and media that augment the print and online sources here. When a CD comes with a book, the call number is noted with the book entry in this LibGuide.

The tabs on Researching Chicago Musicians and Researching Chicago Jazz Venues may prove useful once a paper topic has been chosen. There are quick links to many sources on the Home tab. The Understanding Jazz and Chicago Jazz History and Great Migration tabs can provide important background sources for papers.

Students at all levels working on papers or theses that require extensive use of primary sources may wish to delve into the Chicago Jazz Archive collections in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), or examine sources held in other Chicago repositories -- see the  Libraries and Archives tab.

They Played Chicago

Subject Guide

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Catherine Uecker

Sun Ra (Herman "Sonny" Blount)

Jelly Roll Morton