The History of Jazz (2nd ed.)

by Ted Gioia

Ted Gioia's History of Jazz has been universally hailed as a classic--acclaimed by jazz critics and fans around the world. Now Gioia brings his magnificent work completely up-to-date, drawing on the latest research and revisiting virtually every aspect of the music, past and present.Gioia tells the story of jazz as it had never been told before, in a book that brilliantly portrays the legendary jazz players, the breakthrough styles, and the world in which it evolved. Here are the giants of jazz and the great moments of jazz history--Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club, cool jazz greats such as Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, and Lester Young, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie's advocacy of modern jazz in the 1940s, Miles Davis's 1955 performance at the Newport Jazz Festival, Ornette Coleman's experiments with atonality, Pat Metheny's visionary extension of jazz-rock fusion, the contemporary sounds of Wynton Marsalis, and the post-modernists of the current day. Gioia provides the reader with lively portraits of these and many other great musicians, intertwined with vibrant commentary on the music they created. He also evokes the many worlds of jazz, taking the reader to the swamp lands of the Mississippi Delta, the bawdy houses of New Orleans, the rent parties of Harlem, the speakeasies of Chicago during the Jazz Age, the after hours spots of corrupt Kansas city, the Cotton Club, the Savoy, and the other locales where the history of jazz was made. And as he traces the spread of this protean form, Gioia provides much insight into the social context in which the music was born.

  • Oxford University Press; May 2011
  • ISBN: 9780199830589
  • Edition: 2
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: The History of Jazz
  • Author: Ted Gioia
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

"The best book of its kind."--Gary Giddins, author of Visions of Jazz: The First Century
"A remarkable piece of work... encyclopedic, discriminating, provocative, perceptive and eminently readable. ...If you are looking for an introduction to jazz, this is it. If you know and love jazz well, this is your vade mecum. Me, I expect to be reading around in it for the rest of my life."--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
"Ted Gioia's herculean The History of Jazz...navigates this wild country with immense sophistication, scholarship, and wit. In fact, Gioia's History stands a good chance of becoming the standard guide for general readers and academics."--Village Voice
"An authoritative work of research that doesn't spare the poetic power of words."--James Sullivan, San Francisco Chronicle
"Anyone looking for a balanced, well-written popular history of jazz will certainly find [The History of Jazz] both readable and reliable."--The Wall Street Journal
"A very detailed telling of the events occurring throughout the 20th century that led to the creation and growth of jazz. It makes for an informative and enjoyable reading experience for all who love the art form."--Horace Alexander Young, Washington State University
"An excellent, well-written text that makes the subject understandable and interesting."--Brian Q. Torff, Fairfield University
"Very well researched, easy to read but extremely articulate. Mr. Gioia has accomplished a seemingly difficult feat with great ease."--Wendel Werner, Roane State Community College
"A miracle of concision, Ted Gioia's History of Jazz fills the most conspicuous gap in the music's literature. Marshall Stearns published The Story of Jazz 40 years ago, and the need for a work that would update the story, while incorporating new research and insights, has long been apparent. Gioia does the job with polish, clarity, justice, and surprising completeness--it's the best book of its kind."--Gary Giddins, author of Visions of Jazz: The First Century (forthcoming from OUP in 1998)
"If you wanted to introduce someone to jazz with a single book, this would be a good choice."--Kirkus Reviews
"Gioia generously considers the obviously major players yet notes hundreds of other musicians, too, always with a perspicacity born out of his own working knowledge...and the literary fluency of the essayist whose Imperfect Art is one of the best younger critics' books."--Booklist
"[The History of Jazz] is a remarkable piece of work, not without its shortcomings or its invitations to argument but, withal, the definitive work: encyclopedic, discriminating, provocative, perceptive and eminently readable. With its publication, it can no longer be said that the literature of jazz falls far short of the music itself.... The sweep of Ted Gioia's narrative is grand, indeed helps us understand just how grand the story of jazz really is.... If you are looking for an introduction to jazz, this is it. If you know and love jazz well, this is your vade mecum. Me, I expect to be reading around in it for the rest of my life."--Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post, Chosen as One of the 20 Best Books of the Year
"This well-researched, extensively annotated volume covers the major trends and personalities that have shaped jazz. The excellent bibliography and list of recommended listening make this a valuable purchase for libraries building a jazz collection."--Library Journal
"Ted Gioia's herculean The History of Jazz...navigates this wild country with immense sophistication, scholarship, and wit. In fact, Gioia's History stands a good chance of becoming the standard guide for general readers and academics."--Greg Tate, Village Voice
"An authoritative work of research that doesn't spare the poetic power of words."--James Sullivan, San Francisco Chronicle
"Anyone looking for a balanced, well-written popular history of jazz will certainly find [The History of Jazz] both readable and reliable."--The Wall Street Journal
"An all-encompassing short history of the genre that has dominated 20th-century music."--he New York Times Book Review, A Notable Book of 1998
"...a masterful and fair-minded work" - The Misread City
"The mass of information is structured by a strong linear narrative and is carried along by Gioia's poetic turn of phrase. One of the best, and most even-handed, surveys of jazz and its literature." Financial Times
"For the past 25 years, author and teacher Ted Gioia has provided the most succinct and contemporary histories of America's native musics: blues and jazz. He has done this through his exceptional facility for taking all the previous literature, separating the wheat from the chaff, correcting the errors and myths, and burnishing a brand new shine on the music whole." --AllAboutJazz.com


About The Author

Ted Gioia is a musician, author, and leading jazz critic and expert on American music. The first edition of his The History of Jazz was selected as one of the twenty best books of the year in The Washington Post, and was chosen as a notable book of the year in The New York Times. He is also the author of Delta Blues, West Coast Jazz, Work Songs and The Birth (and Death) of the Cool.