Barry Kernfeld

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Barry Dean Kernfeld (born August 11, 1950 in San Francisco ) is an American jazz scholar and jazz author.

Kernfeld attended the University of Berkeley from 1968 , then continued to study at the University of California at Davis from 1970 (Bachelor in Musicology 1975) and from 1975 to 1981 at Cornell University , where he specialized in jazz, and in 1978 received his master’s degree and 1981 on the improvisation techniques of the Miles Davis sextet with Cannonball Adderley and John ColtranePhD. He taught jazz history at Cornell and Hamilton College. Since 1984 he has been editor of the "Grove Dictionary of Jazz", but has also contributed to other encyclopedias. “What to listen for in jazz” is an introduction to the musical concepts of jazz. In the “Blackwell Guide to Recorded Jazz” he analyzes 150 or (in the new edition) 250 important jazz recordings.

Another core area is the archivist at the University Library of Pennsylvania State University . He was involved in the transcription of the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program. Kernfeld also plays in local bands as a saxophonist.


  • as editor: "The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz", 2 vols., Macmillan 1988, 1994 at St.Martin's Press in one volume, extended edition in 3 vols. at MacMillan 2001 and Oxford University Press 2003 (approx. 3000 pages ), ISBN 1-56159-284-6
  • "The encyclopedia of jazz - history of jazz as reflected in the most important recordings", Scherz Verlag 1993, ISBN 3-502-15370-1 , original "The Blackwell Guide to Recorded Jazz", Blackwell 1991, extended new edition 1995, ISBN 0-631 -19552-1
  • “What to listen for in Jazz”, Yale University Press 1995, with CD, ISBN 0-300-05902-7
  • "The story of Fake Books - Bootlegging songs to musicians", Scarecrow Press 2006, ISBN 0-8108-5727-8
  • with Howard Rye: "Comprehensive Discographies of Jazz, Blues and Gospel", Part 1,2, Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, Vol. 51, 1994, pp. 501-547, Part 2: 1995, pp. 865-891

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