The Music Library has thousands of jazz recordings on CD, DVD, streaming audio online, LP, video, and even 78 rpm discs. Here are some examples, with tips on how to find various types of recordings and formats:
The McGill Concert Recordings database provides McGill-only access to performances of Schulich School of Music large ensembles, including jazz ensembles, from 2008 to the present. (VPN connection required off-campus.) Each recording is accompanied by a corresponding concert programme. Certain pre-2008 performances by McGill jazz ensembles are archived in the Library and can be located via the Library catalogue.
Several thousand uncatalogued LPs, arranged by label name, are available on the 4 shelf ranges closest to the 4th-floor desk. Feel free to browse or ask a member of the full-time Music Library staff for assistance.
Find more search tips at the How to find recordings page.
The Music Library offers loans of audio/video recording and playback equipment to McGill students, faculty, and staff. (Note: Certain items are available only to Schulich School of Music students and faculty.) Video cameras, microphones, stands, audio recording devices as well as Mac laptops with music editing software may be reserved by music students and faculty at the 4th-floor service desk. Please see the Library's Audio/video recording and playback equipment page for more information.
Fake books provide the basic melody, lyrics, and chord changes for a wide range of repertoire from the American Songbook classics to Latin jazz. See a complete list of titles in the Music Library collection.
To locate a song in a fake book, consult the Fake Book Index or Where's That Tune: An Index to Songs in Fakebooks REF ML128 S3 G66 1990.
The Gertrude Whitley Performance Library (5th floor) also has nearly 1000 scores listed in its Jazz catalogue.
This series of scores reproduces the recorded performances of several jazz greats in print. See a complete list of titles in the Music Library collection.
Scores written to develop particular skills such as improvisation or comping may be found by searching the following subject headings in the Library catalogue:
The Aebersold series of "play-a-long book and cd sets" allow jazz musicians to practice their parts with a pre-recorded back-up. Both scores and cds are available at the 4th-floor loans desk. See a complete list of titles in the Music Library collection.
The Music Library has over 6000 pieces of popular sheet music. Too fragile to place on the shelves, the Sheet Music Collection is a treasure trove of standards and Broadway tunes. Ask a Library staff member if you wish to consult the printed music.
The Music Student Computer Room computers have Transcribe! software that will slow down the fastest lick to facilitate transcription. Student technicians can offer help in using the software.
To create new arrangements, use Sibelius or Finale. This software is available in the Music Student Computer Room and on select computers on the 4th and 5th floors of the Music Library.
Many researchers have tried to document the complex history of jazz recordings. Discographies list who recorded what, with whom, when, and where. They are essential tools for the jazz historian.
Print discographies are located both on the 4th floor of the Library in the Audio-Visual Reference section and on the 5th floor in the regular stacks. Below are listed only a few examples. Many more may be discovered by browsing the shelves at the call number ML156.
By record label
|Truncation symbol:||?||e.g. saxophone? will retrieve catalogue records containing the words saxophone and saxophones.|
|Phrase searching:||"___"||e.g. "cool jazz" will retrieve catalogue records containing the phrase cool jazz.|
|Boolean operators:||( ), AND, OR, NOT
|e.g. jazz AND (free OR improvization) will retrieve catalogue records containing the word jazz AND either of the words free OR improvization.|
Jazz is a multidisciplinary field of research, so literature on jazz topics and personalities may be found in databases that index disciplines other than music: history, gender, sociology, and literature, just to name a few. Below are a few examples of databases with a broad scope and more subject-specific ones.
General humanities scope
Below are a few select journal and magazine titles. Find a more complete list of both print and online periodicals by searching the subject heading Jazz periodicals in the Library catalogue.
Print periodicals are available on the 5th floor of the Music Library. Online journals of course are available anywhere access to the Internet permits.
The Music Library owns runs of several significant jazz periodicals on microfilm. Ask at the 3rd-floor staff area for any of the following:
Newspapers are often the best place to trace jazz performances in local venues and read reviews. Find out about McGill's newspaper collections, historical and current, online and on microfilm.