Alyn Shipton read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford
He later joined Macmillan, where he was publisher of Grove’s Dictionaries of Music, associate editor of the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz and commissioning editor for music across trade, academic and educational publishing.
His biography of Fats Waller was published in 1988. Since 1989 he has broadcast on BBC Radio 3, winning the 2003 Marian McPartland/Willis Conover Award for Lifetime Achievement in jazz broadcasting and Jazz Broadcaster of the Year in the 2010 UK Parliamentary Jazz Awards. His New History of Jazz appeared in 2001; a revised edition was published in 2007. He has edited oral histories with several authors including Danny Barker (1986, revised 2016), Doc Cheatham (1996), George Shearing (2004), Chris Barber (2015), and Billy J. Kramer (2016). His other biographies (in addition to Waller) include Bud Powell (co-author, 1995), Dizzy Gillespie (1999, winner of ARSC Award 2000 for best jazz research), Ian Carr (2006), Jimmy McHugh (2009), Cab Calloway (2010) and Harry Nilsson (2013). Nilsson won an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for pop biography and an ARSC Award for research in Pop Music. Alyn is an active double bassist, and currently co-leads the Buck Clayton Legacy Band.