Scott Yanow

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Scott Yanow
Born (1954-10-04) October 4, 1954 (age 59)
New York, United States
Occupation Writer, music critic

Scott Yanow (born 4 October 1954) is an American jazz commentator, known for many contributions to the AllMusic website, for writing ten books on jazz and for reviewing jazz recordings for more than 30 years.[1] He has often referred to himself as "one of the most prolific jazz record reviewers in history".[2]


Born in New York, Yanow grew up near Los Angeles wanting to be a jazz journalist, discovering Dixieland in the Danny Kaye movie The Five Pennies and on a daily radio show while in high school. He soon broadened his tastes to the swing idiom and in college, after purchasing a Charlie Parker album that included "White Christmas" (which made it easier for him to appreciate bebop), he soon developed a strong taste and musical curiosity for all eras of jazz, from dixieland to the avant-garde, Fusion to modern jazz.[1]

Shortly after graduating from college, Yanow became the jazz editor for Record Review, being a major participant in all thirty three of its issues. Since Record Review closed in June 1984, Yanow has written for many jazz magazines and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene. In recent times, Yanow was interviewed on-camera by CNN about the Monterey Jazz Festival and by Arts & Entertainment for their televised American Masters biography on Dizzy Gillespie.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He contributed thousands of additional CD reviews to the third edition, becoming sole editor. He is one of the most prolific jazz record reviewers in history. He continues to contribute to the Allmusic website.

In addition to his work for the All Music Guide to Jazz, Yanow has written ten books on jazz (see bibliography below).

Yanow has penned more than 600 liner notes for many record labels. He has also written artist biographies and press releases for record labels, public relations firms and individual artists.

Yanow has produced a series of CDs for the Allegro record label, worked as a consultant to other labels about their reissue projects, hosted a regular radio show (Jazz After Hours) for KCSN-FM, and worked as the jazz listings editor for the Los Angeles Times.


Contributions to magazines
Contributions to record labels


Arguably the happiest of all music is New Orleans jazz. The sound of several horns all improvising together on fairly simple chord changes with definite roles for each instrument but a large amount of freedom, cannot help but sound consistently joyful.[3]
There was a time, from 1935–1946, when teenagers and young adults danced to jazz-orientated bands. When jazz orchestras dominated pop charts and when influential clarinettists were household names. This was the swing era.[4]


  1. ^ a b Allmusic Biography
  2. ^ "Scott Yanow Recommends", Jazz Messengers.
  3. ^ Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 124. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. 
  4. ^ Du Noyer (2003), p. 128.

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