An acclaimed music scholar presents an accessible introduction to the art of listening to jazz
In How to Listen to Jazz, award-winning music scholar Ted Gioia presents a lively introduction to one of America's premier art forms. He tells us what to listen for in a performance and includes a guide to today's leading jazz musicians. From Louis Armstrong's innovative sounds to the jazz-rock fusion of Miles Davis, Gioia covers the music's history and reveals the building blocks of improvisation. A true love letter to jazz by a foremost expert, How to Listen to Jazz is a must-read for anyone who's ever wanted to understand and better appreciate America's greatest contribution to music.
"Mr. Gioia could not have done a better job. Through him, jazz might even find new devotees." -- Economist
Pianist and historian Gioia (The History of Jazz) seeks to enlighten those most unfortunate of souls: music lovers whose attempts to understand jazz have been routinely thwarted by what he believes to be the vague, unhelpful criteria used by reviewers. Theorizing that meticulous listening sessions can remove much of the mystery from this nebulous art form, the author walks fans through a crash course in jazz appreciation that's suitable for newcomers and intermediate listeners alike. Some sections of Gioia's historical overview read like textbook synopses, and his references to media such as YouTube can sound preemptively out of date, but his prose is nevertheless inviting and often playful, sprinkled with personal anecdotes and barely contained snark regarding the state of modern pop rock. Most valuable is the extensive catalogue of recommendations, not just of the genre's top performers but of 150 contemporary jazz musicians a list that new fans can use to kickstart their journey, and experienced ones can reference to keep up with the form's continuing evolution.