The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire


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 ...

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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 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: 7/6/2012
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 176,991
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

After You've Gone 3

Ain't Misbehavin' 5

Airegin 7

Alfie 9

All Blues 11

AH of Me 12

All of You 13

All the Things You Are 15

Alone Together 18

Angel Eyes 20

April in Paris 21

Autumn in New York 23

Autumn Leaves 24

Bags' Groove 27

Basin Street Blues 29

Beale Street Blues 31

Bemsha Swing 32

Billie's Bounce 34

Blue Bossa 36

Blue in Green 37

Blue Monk 39

Blue Moon 40

Blue Skies 42

Bluesette 44

Body and Soul 46

But Beautiful 48

But Not for Me 50

Bye Bye Blackbird 52

C Jam Blues 55

Cantaloupe Island 56

Caravan 58

Chelsea Bridge 59

Cherokee 61

A Child Is Bom 63

Come Rain or Come Shine 64

Come Sunday 66

Con Alma 68

Confirmation 70

Corcovado 72

Cotton Tail 73

Darn That Dream 75

Days of Wine and Roses 77

Desafmado 78

Dinah 80

Django 82

Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me 83

Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? 85

Donna Lee 86

Don't Blame Me 88

Don't Get Around Much Anymore 90

East of the Sun (and West of the, Moon) 93

Easy Living 94

Easy to Love 96

Embraceable You 97

Emily 99

Epistrophy 101

Everything Happens to Me 103

Evidence 105

Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye 107

Exactly Like You 109

Falling in Love with Love 111

Fascinating Rhythm 113

Fly Me to the Moon 115

A Foggy Day 117

Footprints 119

Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You? 121

Georgia on My Mind 122

Ghost of a Chance 124

Giant Steps 126

The Girl from Ipanema 128

God Bless the Child 130

Gone with the Wind 132

Good Morning Heartache 134

Goodbye Pork Pie Hat 136

Groovin' High 137

Have You Met Miss Jones? 140

Here's That Rainy Day 142

Honeysuckle Rose 143

Hot House 146

How Deep Is the Ocean? 148

How High the Moon 150

How Insensitive 152

How Long Has This Been Going On? 153

I Can't Get Started 156

I Can't Give You Anything but Love 158

I Cover the Waterfront 160

I Didn't Know What Time It Was 162

I Fall in Love Too Easily 163

I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good) 165

I Got Rhythm 167

I Hear a Rhapsody 169

I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart 172

I Love You 172

I Mean You 174

I Only Have Eyes for You 176

-I Remember Clifford 178

I Should Care 180

I Surrender, Dear 181

I Thought about You 183

I Want to Be Happy 185

If You Could See Me Now 186

I'll Remember April 188

I'm in the Mood for Love 189

Impressions 192

In a Mellow Tone 193

In a Sentimental Mood 195

In Your Own Sweet Way 197

Indiana 198

Invitation 201

It Could Happen to You 203

It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) 204

It Might as Well Be Spring 206

I've Found a New Baby 208

The Jitterbug Waltz 211

Joy Spring 213

Just Friends 214

Just One of Those Things 216

Just You, Just Me 218

King Porter Stomp 220

Lady Bird 223

The Lady Is a Tramp 225

Lament 227

Laura 228

Lester Leaps In 231

Like Someone in Love 232

Limehouse Blues 234

Liza 236

Lonely Woman 238

Love for Sale 240

Lover 242

Lover, Come Back to Me 243

Lover Man 245

Lullaby of Birdland 247

Lush Life 249

Mack the Knife 252

Maiden Voyage 254

The Man I Love 256

Manha de Carnaval 257

Mean to Me 259

Meditation 261

Memories of You 262

Milestones 264

Misterioso 266

Misty 268

Momenf s Notice 269

Mood Indigo 271

More Than You Know 273

Muskrat Ramble 275

My Favorite Things 277

My Foolish Heart 278

My Funny Valentine 280

My Old Flame 282

My One and Only Love 284

My Romance 286

Naima 288

Nardis 290

Nature Boy 291

The Nearness of You 293

Nice Work If You Can Get It 295

Night and Day 297

Night in Tunisia 299

Night Train 301

Now's the Time 302

Nuages 304

Oh, Lady Be Good! 306

Old Folks 308

Oleo 310

On a Clear Day 311

On Green Dolphin Street 313

On the Sunny Side of the Street 315

Once I Loved 317

One Note Samba 319

One o'clock Jump 320

Ornithology 322

Our Love Is Here to Stay 324

Out of Nowhere 326

Over the Rainbow 328

Peace 331

The Peacocks 333

Pennies from Heaven 334

Perdido 335

Poinciana 337

Polka Dots and Moonbeams 339

Prelude to a Kiss 341

Rhythm-a-ning 343

'Round Midnight 345

Royal Garden Blues 348

Ruby, My Dear 349

, St. James Infirmary 352

St. Louis Blues 354

St. Thomas 357

Satin Doll 358

Scrapple from the Apple 360

60 Secret Love 362

The Shadow of Your Smile 362

Shine 365

Skylark 367

Smile 369

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 371

So What 373

Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise 375

Solar 377

Solitude 378

Someday My Prince Will Come 380

Someone to Watch over Me 382

Song for My Father 383

The Song Is You 385

Sophisticated Lady 386

Soul Eyes 388

Speak Low 390

Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most 392

Spring Is Here 394

Star Dust 396

Star Eyes 398

Stella by Starlight 400

Stolen Moments 402

Stompin' at the Savoy 403

Stormy Weather 405

Straight, No Chaser 407

Struttin' with Some Barbecue 409

Summertime 411

Sweet Georgia Brown 413

'S Wonderful 415

Take Five 418

Take the A Train 420

Tea for Two 422

Tenderly 423

There Is No Greater Love 425

There Will Never Be Another You 427

These Foolish Things 428

They Can't Take That Away from Me 430

Things Ain't What They Used to Be 432

Tiger Rag 434

Time after Time 437

Tin Roof Blues 438

The Very Thought of You 442

Waltz for Debby 444

Watermelon Man 446

Wave 448

The Way You Look Tonight 449

Well, You Needn't 452

What Is This Thing Called Love? 453

What's New? 456

When the Saints Go Marching In 457

Whisper Not 459

Willow Weep for Me 460

Yardbird Suite 463

Yesterdays 464

You Don't Know What Love Is 466

You Go to My Head 468

You Stepped Out of a Dream 470

You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To 471

Notes 473

Index 483

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