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Analysis of Jazz - A Comprehensive Approach

Analysis of Jazz

A Comprehensive Approach

By Laurent Cugny
Series: American Made Music Series
Paperback : 9781496821898, 394 pages, 78 b&w illustrations, March 2019
Hardcover : 9781496821881, 394 pages, 78 b&w illustrations, March 2019

A sweeping study of the nature of jazz


Analysis of Jazz: A Comprehensive Approach, originally published in French as Analyser le jazz, is available here in English for the first time. In this groundbreaking volume, Laurent Cugny examines and connects the theoretical and methodological processes that underlie all of jazz. Jazz in all its forms has been researched and analyzed by performers, scholars, and critics, and Analysis of Jazz is required reading for any serious study of jazz; but not just musicians and musicologists analyze jazz. All listeners are analysts to some extent. Listening is an active process; it may not involve questioning but it always involves remembering, comparing, and listening again. This book is for anyone who attentively listens to and wants to understand jazz.

Divided into three parts, the book focuses on the work of jazz, analytical parameters, and analysis. In part one, Cugny aims at defining what a jazz work is precisely, offering suggestions based on the main features of definition and structure. Part two he dedicates to the analytical parameters of jazz in which a work is performed: harmony, rhythm, form, sound, and melody. Part three takes up the analysis of jazz itself, its history, issues of transcription, and the nature of improvised solos. In conclusion, Cugny addresses the issues of interpretation to reflect on the goals of analysis with regard to understanding the history of jazz and the different cultural backgrounds in which it takes place.

Analysis of Jazz presents a detailed inventory of theoretical tools and issues necessary for understanding jazz.


This work by the accomplished French composer, historian, and Sorbonne professor Laurent Cugny has been long awaited. It is not only informative, but thought-provoking as well. Cugny does not merely lecture to us, but raises and addresses numerous fundamental questions, from how to identify jazz to the problems of transcription to the purpose of analysis, and more. This book should be read closely and discussed by all musicians—professional as well as amateur—and educators.

- Lewis Porter, jazz pianist, author, and educator

Laurent Cugny’s Analysis of Jazz: A Comprehensive Approach is a masterful explication of what jazz is and what makes it tick. Compliments to University Press of Mississippi for bringing this important work to an American readership. Formidable and insightful.

- Bruce Boyd Raeburn, curator emeritus, Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University