The purpose of this guide is to familiarize you with the best resources for research in Jazz & Blues. For further assistance, contact Judith Downie, Humanities Librarian.
Non-Book Sources
Internet Sources
Composers & Performers



Encyclopedias are a good place to start your research. They can help you identify a topic for your paper, and often include useful bibliographies.

Jazz Milestones: A Pictorial Chronicle of Jazz 1900-1990
Reference ML3506 .J43 1993

Living the Jazz Life: Conversations with Forty Musicians About Their Careers in Jazz On Order

New Grove Dictionary of Jazz Reference
ML102 .J3 N48 2001

New Grove Gospel, Blues, and Jazz: With Spirituals and Ragtime Book Stacks
ML3556 .O456 1986b

Oxford Companion to Jazz Book Stacks
ML3507 .O94 2000

Up From the Cradle of Jazz: New Orleans Music Since World War II Book Stacks
ML3521 .B47 1992

What Is This Thing Called Jazz? African American Musicians as Artists, Critics and Activists
ML3508 .P67 2002



CSUSM Media Library has a wide variety of sound recordings on jazz. To get all 330+ items, type 'jazz' as a keyword search and then modify the search to look only for the material type: MUSIC RECORDINGS. If you have a more specific version of jazz you are looking for, try typing that term in the search box as well, such as 'jazz and Cuba' to get more focused results.

CSUSM Media Library has a wide variety of videos on jazz. To get all 70+ items, type 'jazz' as a keyword search and then modify the search to location: VIDEO. If you search under GENRE/FORM for music, you will note two different listings for 'music video recordings' and 'music videos'. Music videos are normally music performances while the video recordings can be recorded interviews or instruction on music.

Although Callaloo is oriented towards literature and arts, there are a number of articles addressing music, specifically jazz, in this publication. Available electronically through Project Muse (more recent) and JSTOR (issues older than 5 years).

Popular Music addresses a variety of topics in music and performance. This title is available in the library's periodical stacks starting with vol. 10 (1991) and online to CSUSM users through the library catalog starting with vol 19 (2000.)

Journals on music in electronic format can be found by using the GENRE/FORM search option in the library catalog. Type in music as your search term and look for the 'music electronic journals' entry to access the list of all journals we own in electronic full-text.


Internet Sources

American Memory Brought to you by the Library of Congress, this is a collection of digitized documents, photographs and sound files covering a variety of America music including jazz and blues.  

American Music Center Focuses on contemporary American music including a listening room and webzine on new music. 

American Musicological Society (AMS) A huge site, with a focus on American music, but the Web sites of interest to musicologists link provides extensive lists of links under headings such as 'Women in Music', 'Jazz', 'Music in Latin America' as well as practical matters such as job vacancies, music libraries, and publishers. 

British Library Sound Archive: Pop Music: Jazz Collection
This site focuses on describing the collections available at the British Library, but offers a large number of sound recordings available online and an extensive list of links to European and American web sites on jazz.

Jazz: A History of America's Music The site supplementing the PBS series by Ken Burns, the links of special value are the "Biographies" and the "Jazz in Time" sections.

Jazz: All About Jazz While not research-based, the interviews with jazz performers and reviews of recordings are valuable for primary source information on the artist's interpretations and inspirations for their work.

National Public Radio: Jazz
This site offers a wide variety of information based on prior broadcast programs. Of special note is the Basic Jazz Record Library, offering recordings of the artists discussed in the program transcripts.

Passion for Jazz: Music History and Education Assembled by a jazz musician, the site has a useful glossary, timeline and information on music theory. The value is weakened by the lack of references provided to support the information.

Red Hot Jazz Archive Like most .coms, this has a commercial component, but an extensive and accessible list of bands with sound and video clips. The essays do not offer bibliographies, but information on books written by the essay author. Useful features are the dates given for the band and star performers.

Video On Demand
A collection of performances, lectures, interviews, and installations recorded at UCSD. These are free to watch using RealPlayer. Use the video finder subject divisions to look at the offering (advise using the Arts & Music collection and then using the "by subject" tab". A title/keyword search option is available also. Of interest are the Jazz & Popular Music and Artist Profiles sections.


Composers & Performers

African American Music Collection Transcripts of approximately 60 of the artists recorded through videotaped interviews by James Standifer. Other materials are referred to, but are not available through online access.

American Memory Brought to you by the Library of Congress, this is a collection of digitized documents, photographs and sound files including collections focusing on individual performers and composers.  

Individual Musicians (All Genres) and Popular Groups Assembled by Indiana University, this covers a broad range of musical artists. Not all names given have active links, but the page offers individuals, groups and at the bottom, links to "The Standards", "Women in Jazz" (2 parts) and "Today's Generation".

Jazz Profiles from National Public Radio provides biographical material, interviews and performance clips to a number of different performers over time.

Video Oral History Project (Selected Clips from the Louis Armstrong Jazz Oral History Project) Mostly short video clips and transcripts of interviews with some of the jazz greats, there are several full-length (1 hour+) streaming video interviews as well.


...For More

Increasing numbers of sites dedicated to performers and genres are being made available on the internet. Look for reliable and established research-oriented sites, such as those hosted by universities (on .edu servers) or museums and historical societies (frequently found on .org servers). Here are some examples:

Blues Music: Overview From the New Georgia Encyclopedia, this focuses on performers who lived in the state. 

The Eubie Blake Collection at the Maryland Historical Society

Jefferson, Blind Lemon from the Handbook of Texas Online. A short entry with references for further research.


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