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Publisher's Summary

An Economist best book of the year

In How to Listen to Jazz, award-winning music scholar Ted Gioia presents a lively introduction to the art of listening to jazz. 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 exotic compositions of Duke Ellington, Gioia covers everything from the music's history to the building blocks of improvisation. A true love letter to jazz by a foremost expert, How to Listen to Jazz is a must-listen for anyone who's ever wanted to understand America's greatest contribution to music.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Ted Gioia (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A radiantly accomplished writer.... Gioia conveys his passion for the music with vivid description and shrewd judgements." ( Wall Street Journal)
"Gioia could not have done a better job. Through him, jazz might even find new devotees." ( Economist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect for a jazz newbie

I know next to nothing about jazz, so picked up this book after a recommendation from someone else. I found it to be an excellent overview of jazz with great narration by a jazz cat. I would highly recommend this book to provide some basics concerning the different varieties and history of jazz music.

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  • Mark
  • 02-14-18

Did exactly what I wanted it to do

I came to this book with a small amount of Jazz knowledge, but I wanted to expand my understanding of the styles and find a way in to pieces that I found difficult to appreciate.

This book does just that. It gives you and good oversight of all the main sub-genres, players and the history of the music. But most importantly for this sort of book, it gave me the enthusiasm to seek out the suggestions and go deeper than I had before. I would recommend this to anyone that is on the begining of their Jazz journey.

The narrator has a smooth but slow delivery, and I was quite happy to turn him up to 1.5x speed.

Ps. He still hasn't sold me on Ornette Coleman!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Luke
  • 12-21-17

Good start and end but not great

Most of the best insights are at the beginning and end. In between is a history of jazz and jazz artists which has been done better by Shipton and others, in much more detail. He doesn't actually get around to saying what his criteria for excellence are! A bit disappointing, but still worthwhile.