Series 9 - Books

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1139-9




  • 1975-2008 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.52 m of textual records

Context area

Name of creator

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

During his career Prof Chambers has written more than 12 books, 5 of these as the sole author. These books relate to both areas of expertise, linguistics and jazz.

This series contains files relating to four of his books, all as sole author, and all relating to jazz music. The most voluminous information relates to his first major book on jazz, the biography of Miles Davis. Milestones I: The music and times of Miles Davis to 1960 and Milestones II: The music and times of Miles Davis since 1960 were published in 1983 and 1985 respectively and at a total of 761 pages remains Prof. Chambers’ major work to date. The files documenting this book include correspondence relating to both volumes, reviews, and manuscripts. Chambers’ format for this book has been described as a ‘bio-discography’ with the sound documents of some 120 phonorecords that Miles Davis had appeared on. [1]

The second book documented in this series is Genuflect, an unpublished novel set in Toronto, the manuscript of which was produced in 1995 and 1996. Files relating to this work consist of correspondence and two drafts of the manuscript.

Crescendo: Duke Ellington in the Age of Cool Jazz and Hard Bop was completed in 2006 and submitted to various publishers. The files relating to this yet unpublished book consist of correspondence and the manuscript.

Bouncin with Bartock: The incomplete works of Richard Twardzik , published in 2008 by Mercury Press (Toronto), is another biographical work. In this book, Prof. Chambers describes the life of American jazz pianist, Dick Twardzik, who died of a drug overdose in 1955 at the age of 24. In a review of this book, the reviewer states “Chambers…has taken this mysterious figure from a bygone jazz era and brought him fully to life in the pages of this remarkable book… Chambers … has uncovered a rich cornucopia of information on the pianist. He conferred with aunts and cousins, friends and acquaintances, commentators and colleagues. He tracked correspondence, followed up various trails, and puts together a complete account, satisfying both for its biographical rigor as well as the critical intelligence he applies to Twardzik’s body of work.” [2] The files relating to this book include correspondence from 1975 to 2007, and a manuscript.

[1] Offprint of Robert Witmer, review in Humanities, p. 229 B2009-0044/025 (08)

[2] From review by Ted Gioia at

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

B2009-0044/025 (07)-(09) & /026 (01)-(03) Milestones correspondence (1982-1998)
B2009-0044/026 (04)-(08) & /027 (01)-(02) Milestones I –lst and 2nd drafts of manuscript
B2009-0044/027 (03)-(05) & /028 (01): Milestones II – manuscript
B2009-0044/028 (02): Genuflect – correspondence, 1995-1996
B2009-0044/028 (03)-(06): Genuflect – manuscript
B2009-0044/028 (07)-(08): Crescendo: Duke Ellington, 2006-2008
B2009-0044/029: Bouncin with Bartock, 1975-2008

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access


Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places