Ted Gioia is a musician, author, jazz critic and a leading expert on American music. His previous books The History of Jazz and Delta Blues were both selected as notable books of the year in The New York Times. He is also the author of West Coast Jazz, Work Songs, Healing Songs and The Birth (and Death) of the Cool.
"Which is best: interpretation or song? In any case, jazz and standards are forever locked in loving embrace. A finely researched work." --Sonny Rollins "A monument to taste and scholarship" --The Atlantic "If you look up just one title in The Jazz Standards, before you realize it you will have spent an intriguing hour or two learning fascinating and new things about old songs that you have known most of your life." --Dave Brubeck "This history is fascinating, a reminder that jazz is at heart a vernacular medium in which the most essential skill for a musician may be the ability to think on his or her feet...What makes 'The Jazz Standards' so engaging is just this sort of anecdotal texture, Gioia's ability to write as an inhabitant of both the tradition and the songs.....to read 'The Jazz Standards,' then, is not unlike listening to Gioia play his way through this music, sharing not just what he likes (and dislikes) but also what he knows." -- The Los Angeles Times "This excellent and entertaining resource would be a fine addition to any library's music collection. It serves as an informative guide to the standard jazz repertoire and would be useful for both novices and aficionados of jazz history. Its best place, however, may not necessarily be on the reference shelves but, rather, out for circulation." --Booklist "This book should be in the library of every gigging jazz musician and every serious jazz fan; to the extent that these 250-plus pieces remain in the repertory, it will be relevant for years to come." --Library Journal "Warning: this book is addicitive." --Dallas Morning News "Gioia writes with an endearing blend of erudition and opinionating...that makes the book both a delightful browse and a handy reference and roadmap for jazzophiles." --Publishers Weekly "What a useful and informative book The Jazz Standards is! Explaining the jazz repertory in a way that is accessible for the jazz beginner yet stimulating for the aficionado, Ted Gioia shows once again why he is one the best jazz writers around today." --Gerald Early, Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, Washington University in St. Louis; Editor of Miles Davis and American Culture "It's a book to be browsed and enjoyed at leisure. The facts are illuminating, and so are the opinions....The book is wise, often funny--and it always accomplishes the highest mission of writing about music, which is to send you back to the music with wide-open ears." --Kansas City Star
Jazz historian and pianist Gioia (The History of Jazz) here focuses on the most recognizable and iconic compositions known to and performed by jazz musicians. He details more than 250 pieces-some written by jazz musicians, some part of Broadway musicals, and some pop songs of their day, but all among the must-know repertory of the gigging jazz musician. Gioia presents a brief historical sketch of each composition, including information on its writer(s), significant recordings, and its popularity over the years as jazz styles have evolved. Although there is simply not enough room for the author to provide exhaustive notes on all of the prominent recordings of these jazz standards, he manages to mention a fair number of recordings and provide several salient details about each. The brief discography for each piece is helpful, but more detailed release information would have been nice. Gioia's writing style is friendly and easygoing, suggesting the way in which one jazz performer might rap with another about the tunes. VERDICT This book should be in the library of every gigging jazz musician and every serious jazz fan; to the extent that these 250-plus pieces remain in the repertory, it will be relevant for years to come.-James E. Perone, Univ. of Mount Union, Alliance, OH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.