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 listener 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 listener 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.
©2011 Ted Gioia (P)2014 Audible Inc.
My preferences are for crime novels and biography.
Ted Gioia has been writing about jazz for many years now. He is clear and informative and his style is easy but authoritative. I have been listening to jazz and playing it for decades and I always learn new things from his writing. If you want an overview of Jazz this is the book for you!
I would avoid all books read by Bob Souer, is he even real? It sounds like this is read by an automated computer program. Shame, as the book is very good.
"Music should accompany text"
The book is fantastic but it would have been bolstered by having examples of the described music played in the proximity of the comments about the music.
As I am already familiar with the music, the authors descriptions added meaning. If I did not already know the music I don't think that the descriptions would have been meaningful to me.
There was one mispronunciation which was repeated several times.. Camarillo was pronounced Camarillo and not Cama-rio.
"Not perfect, but the best available"
Not perfect, but the best available on the subject and impressive in its own right. Sometimes repetitive in many ways, but absolutely worth it.
"An Exciting Opportunity Missed"
This book contained a tremendous amount of information about the jazz genre and its artists. As an Audible Book however, it missed the opportunity to provide audio snippets as the author would mention the impacts of a jazz innovator and mentioned specific recordings where the unique rhythms or innovative dynamics or outstanding technical mastery of an instrument was demonstrated, yet there was no example shared with the listener. This Audiobook failed to meet my expectations as there was not a single example of jazz included. The narrator presented the work in a dry monotone with very little change in delivery or dynamics. Audiobooks offers a special feature to use one's auditory facilities to experience the music as well as text.
"Does exactly what it says on the cover."
As a long time student of jazz, I've seen many works attempt to make sense of the long and varied history of the music. This audiobook, which was an impulse purchase, comes about the closest I've experienced to covering everything in one,tidy, work. What really impressed me was that Gioia accomplished this without leaving many, if any, notables out and with as close to a complete absence of personal bias you are likely to find in jazz writing. Even styles on the farthest edge of jazz such as acid jazz and smooth jazz are given respectful consideration, rather than outright dismissal, to say nothing of the serious treatment of fusion and avant garde, both of which are too often ignored or treated with distain bordering on disgust by many of the modern day jazz archivists.
My only complaint is a slight one. I found the language to be a little too flowery at time. Not unbearably so, but there's too much French sprinkled in and it sounds a little pretentious in places. (I think I've heard the word "oeuvre" enough to last a lifetime.) Bob Souer's narration is unobtrusive mostly, which I mean as a good thing, though I question his pronunciation for some of the names, but it could also be I've been doing it wrong all these years.
Regardless if you're a neophyte or long time fan, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better, more complete, single history of jazz.
"Great place to start in exploration of jazz"
Great book lots of info and insight into the how and why. The narrator wasn't quite my cup of tea, a little too monotone. If I didn't come in to this book with a great deal of interest it might have turned me off. As I got deeper in it mattered less and less though.
I really love this. book has a lot of good stores and history of the best music America has developed. There are a few things I didn't like was it was a little difficult to follow would go for. The 60's to the 40's to the 80's then back to the 30 or 40's then to the 50's the dates were all over the place. But other then that a great book. Very well worth reading
"An outstanding book and an outstanding performance"
Listening to this history of jazz was a wonderful experience. Not only did it present a comprehensive story of musicians, styles, and trends but its narrative evoked vivid and colorful images. The reader gave an equally outstanding performance and was a perfect pairing with the book.
"Great Narrative, no examples though"
No audio samples from compositions author talks about
I think it needs audio examples, as listening only about jazz without tones and landmark bits is quite a challenge (you got to write artists down and research on their discography / famous bits yourself)
"Well worth the time to listen to"
Comprehensive and fascinating history of the times, then men, the music. Now I get to listen with a keener sense to all my favorites and many new stars.
Great for anyone interested. Narrator is monotone but does a good job otherwise. Well worth the price!
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