on 20 January 1998
Not a bad place to start for the newcomer to jazz. Any single volume work encompassing the entire history of so rich a musical tradition is open to questions on both additions and omissions and this book is no exception. However, for those fans who seem to be stuck in gravitational pull of 50's and 60's bop/hard bop era and want to learn more about the other ends of the historical spectrum, from ragtime to free jazz, Gioia's book has plenty to offer. If nothing else, let this book serve as a springboard to futher investigations of particular genres or artists. Rarely did a page go by where I didn't learn something.
on 2 December 2011
Simply - this is an essential book for all music - and I mean music - fans.
If you like jazz - even if you are an afficianado - Ted Gioia's expert history will enlighten you to the rich history of the art form.
If you don't like jazz the rich tapestry of its characters, development and influence still makes for a riveting story.
Expertly written but retaining a crisp, clear style, this is one of the best books about music ever written.
on 11 January 1999
Gioia's book packs a lot of information into just over 400 pages. The book has breadth and a good degree of depth, though some siginifcant musicians inevitably get short shrift. The author's observations are insightful, especially his claim toward the book's end that now is a unique, especially difficult moment for jazz recording artists, since they must compete with the recorded legacy of the entire genre, not just their contemporaries or artists of the recent past.