The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire

The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire

by Ted Gioia
     
 


The Jazz Standards, a comprehensive guide to the most important jazz compositions, is a unique resource, a browser's companion, and an invaluable introduction to the art form. This essential book for music lovers tells the story of more than 250 key jazz songs, and includes a listening guide to more than 2,000 recordings.

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Overview


The Jazz Standards, a comprehensive guide to the most important jazz compositions, is a unique resource, a browser's companion, and an invaluable introduction to the art form. This essential book for music lovers tells the story of more than 250 key jazz songs, and includes a listening guide to more than 2,000 recordings.

Many books recommend jazz CDs or discuss musicians and styles, but this is the first to tell the story of the songs themselves. The fan who wants to know more about a jazz song heard at the club or on the radio will find this book indispensable. Musicians who play these songs night after night now have a handy guide, outlining their history and significance and telling how they have been performed by different generations of jazz artists. Students learning about jazz standards now have a complete reference work for all of these cornerstones of the repertoire.

Author Ted Gioia, whose body of work includes the award-winning The History of Jazz and Delta Blues, is the perfect guide to lead readers through the classics of the genre. As a jazz pianist and recording artist, he has performed these songs for decades. As a music historian and critic, he has gained a reputation as a leading expert on jazz. Here he draws on his deep experience with this music in creating the ultimate work on the subject.

An introduction for new fans, a useful handbook for jazz enthusiasts and performers, and an important reference for students and educators, The Jazz Standards belongs on the shelf of every serious jazz lover or musician.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Jazz pianist and historian Gioia (Delta Blues) surveys 250 influential 20th-century compositions, including Broadway show tunes, movie songs, and original pieces by Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, and other composers. Each two-page entry serves up a chatty, fact-filled review of the tune’s birth pangs—Louis B. Mayer almost cut “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz!—and a breezy analysis of its musicological mojo. (“Someone to Watch over Me,” the author avers, draws its wistful warmth from the all-black-keys pentatonic scale.) But Gioia is interested less in a melody’s first incarnation than in its afterlife as a template for jamming, riffing, and free-form stylistic variation, epitomized by John Coltrane’s saxy reinvention of “My Favorite Things.” He therefore includes critical appreciations of each standard’s best and most emblematic arrangements, along with a list of recordings. Gioia writes with an endearing blend of erudition and opinionating—”Come Rain or Come Shine”’s spare tune “isn’t a melody, it’s a musical starvation diet”—that makes the book both a delightful browse and a handy reference and roadmap for jazzophiles. (July)
From the Publisher

"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

The Washington Post
…richly informative…Calling them "the soundtrack of my own life," [Gioia] takes the reader through hundreds of songs, rounding out each entry…with a list of his recommended versions. His main criterion for selection is "significance in the jazz repertoire of the current era," and though I missed a few favorites…it's hard to quarrel with Gioia's seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of what's still hot and what's not…The Jazz Standards…is awfully nice to dip into.
—Dennis Drabelle
Library Journal
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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199937394
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
07/06/2012
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
287,691
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

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