Before the Legend: The Rise of Bob Marley by Christopher John Farley Amistad/HarperCollins, May 2006 $21.95, ISBN 0-060-53991-7
Last year, journalist Farley visited Marley's homeland to compose a portrait of the music superstar in his early years. Featuring interviews with family members and former bandmates, Before the Legend is, as Farley writes, "a book about beginnings."
Blue Monday: Fats Domino and the Lost Dawn of Rock 'n' Roll by Rick Coleman Da Capo Press, May 2006 $26, ISBN 0-306-81491-9
In this well researched biography, Coleman writes that Fats Domino "was one of the fathers of rhythm & blues, which paved the way for rock 'n' roll." The writer profiles the fantastic Fats and explores the roots of R&B.
Chasin' the Bird: The Life and Legacy of Charlie Parker by Brian Priestley Oxford University Press, March 2006 $28, ISBN 0-195-30464-0
The music that flowed from Parker's saxophone is legendary; and this biography examines the life of one of the most august jazz icons of the 20th century.
The Devil's Horn: The Story of the Saxophone, From Noisy Novelty to King of Cool by Michael Segell Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2005, $25, ISBN 0-374-15938-6
One wonders if Adolphe Sax, who fashioned the first saxophone in 1843, had the foresight to envision it as a symbol of 20th-century "coolness." Segell's book recounts the history of the instrument and highlights many musicians associated with its seductive sound.
The Gentle Giant: The Autobiography of Yusef Lateef with Herb Boyd Morton Books, Inc., January 2006 $25, ISBN 1-929-18812-9
As if sharing passages from his diary, this book chronicles the life of the 84-year-old musician and poet Yusef Lateef.
Harlem of the West: The San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era by Elizabeth Pepin and Lewis Watts Chronicle Books, February 2005 $24.95, ISBN 0-811-84548-6
This collection of archival photographs and narratives showcases San Francisco's Fillmore District during the 1940s and '50s.
The House That Trane Built: The Story of Impulse Records by Ashley Kahn W.W. Norton & Company, June 2006 $29.95, ISBN 0-393-05879-4
In the '60s and '70s, Impulse Records produced some of the most enthralling jazz recordings of the era. Although John Coltrane was the label's star, Ray Charles, Johnny Hartman and McCoy Tyner were among the brilliant musicians who recorded some of the company's timeless classics.
Lady Sings the Blues by Billie Holiday with William Dufty Harlem Moon/Broadway, June 2006 $12.95, ISBN...