The Imperfect Art: Reflections on Jazz and Modern Culture

The Imperfect Art: Reflections on Jazz and Modern Culture

by Ted Gioia
     
 

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Taking a wide-ranging approach rare in jazz criticism, Ted Gioia's brilliant volume draws upon fields as disparate as literary criticism, art history, sociology, and aesthetic philosophy in order to place jazz within the turbulent cultural environment of the twentieth century. He argues that because improvisation—the essence of jazz—must often fail under

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Overview

Taking a wide-ranging approach rare in jazz criticism, Ted Gioia's brilliant volume draws upon fields as disparate as literary criticism, art history, sociology, and aesthetic philosophy in order to place jazz within the turbulent cultural environment of the twentieth century. He argues that because improvisation—the essence of jazz—must often fail under the pressure of on-the-spot creativity, we should view jazz as an "imperfect art" and base our judgments of it on an "aesthetics of imperfection."

Incorporating the thought of such seminal thinkers as Walter Benjamin, José Ortega y Gasset, and Roland Barthes, The Imperfect Art offers vivid portraits of the giants of jazz and startling insights into this vital musical form and the interaction of society and art.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a unique book on jazz. I highly recommend it as a bridge between the jazz musician and layman."—Stan Getz

"This is an unusual jazz book for two reasons: it deals with the music not just on its own terms but in a broader cultural and aesthetic context, and it was written by a musician....Much of what Mr. Gioia has to say is thoughtful and thought-provoking."—Peter Keepnews, The New York Times Book Review

"Gioia's absorbing collection is phenomenological and interdisciplinary, providing connective tissue for fresh perspectives of jazz and its transactions with a wide arc of cultural forces. The Imperfect Art is an important contribution celebrating jazz as a true treasure of our times."—Herb Wong, Past President, The National Association of Jazz Educators

"Well-written...a compelling primer on jazz aesthetics....Thoughtful jazz lovers of all degrees of musical literacy ought to be delighted and enlightened by Gioia's yeomanly effort. A rich little book."—Booklist

"A thoughtful book of essays about the evolution of jazz in the context of modern mass culture, its historical relation to other arts and its unique position as an 'imperfect art' of improvisation."—San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195063288
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
07/28/1990
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Ted Gioia teaches jazz history and performance at Stanford University and has recorded an album as a jazz pianist, The End of the Open Road, available from Quartet Records.

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