Another great book that is fun to read and chock full of facts. Ted Gioia is a wonderful historian when it comes to all things jazz. He's a prolific author and his works are well worth your time. Here's a sample of reviews for this particular work...
“How to Listen to Jazz fills an important and obvious gap by offering a sensible and jargon-free introduction to what Gioia calls ‘the most joyous sound invented during the entire course of twentieth-century music.' The book deserves a place alongside such classic works of jazz criticism as Martin Williams's The Jazz Tradition, Will Friedwald's Jazz Singing, the books of Gary Giddins and Gioia's own The History of Jazz. His prose is brisk and well-paced, with many surprising insights along the way.”
“How to Listen to Jazz is a packed and useful introduction to the medium with suggestions and aids for the listener who wants to gain entrance to a rich and complicated body of work. Gioia aspires to ‘bare my own process of listening' by, among other things, proposing various strategies for making the music more available.... Before getting very far in this little book, you feel you are in good hands.”
Wall Street Journal
“[How to Listen to Jazz is a] satisfying new book.... A radiantly accomplished writer, a busy blogger and a pianist who has recorded several albums, Mr. Gioia conveys his passion for the music with vivid description and shrewd judgements, concentrating principally on the recordings made by jazz musicians rather than on details of their personal lives.... One of the best features of the book is a set of ‘music maps,' as Mr. Gioia calls them, that serve as a guide to individual recordings.”
New York Times Book Review
“In How to Listen to Jazz, the music critic and historian (and pianist) Ted Gioia confesses: ‘I've offered both praise and putdowns to make an artist over the years, but I've never actually outlined in detail the standards I apply in making these evaluations.' His new book is an effort to correct that, and to teach casual listeners how ‘careful listening can demystify virtually all of the intricacies and marvels of jazz.' As part of his instruction, Gioia points readers to certain recordings, including inferior ones. ‘You can perhaps learn more about swing from listening to the bands that fail to achieve it,' he writes.”