Jazz: The Australian accent
University of New South Wales Press $34.95 pb (plus CD)
On paper, jazz critic John Shand’s Jazz: The Australian Accent is a welcome intervention, one of the first books to take Australian jazz seriously. Shand’s prose is well paced and easy to read, if slightly glib. There is little obfuscation in his method, which is infinitely preferable to the pretensions of many jazz critics who fail to translate jazz into prose. Shand’s descriptions of music are engaging enough to make you want to listen to the musicians whose work he is describing, if only to confirm or deny the mutedly rhapsodic element of Shand’s descriptors. Unfortunately, they generally don’t live up to his prose, which you’ll discover when listening to the compilation CD that accompanies this book.