Ted Gioia

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Ted Gioia.
Gioia (photo by Dave Shafer)

Ted Gioia (born October 21, 1957) is an American jazz critic and music historian, best known for his books The History of Jazz and Delta Blues, both selected as notable books of the year by The New York Times. He is one of the editors in chief of the Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians. He is also a jazz musician and one of the founders of Stanford University's jazz studies program.

He is the author of several other books on music, including West Coast Jazz (1992), The Jazz Standards (2012), and The Birth (and Death) of the Cool (2009). A second fully updated and expanded edition of The History of Jazz was published by Oxford University Press in 2011. His most recent book Love Songs: The Hidden History, published by Oxford University Press in 2015, is a survey of the music of courtship, romance and sexuality; it completes a trilogy of books on the social history of music that also includes Work Songs (2006) and Healing Songs (2006). In his study of love songs, Gioia contends that key innovations in the history of this music came from Africa and the Middle East.[1]

The Dallas Morning News has called Ted Gioia "one of the outstanding music historians in America." Three of his books have been honored with the ASCAP-Deems Taylor award. His concept of "post-cool," originally described in his book The Birth (and Death) of the Cool, was selected as one of the "Big Ideas of 2012" by Adbusters magazine.[2] In 2006, Gioia was the first to expose, in an article in the Los Angeles Times, the FBI files on folk and roots music icon Alan Lomax. He founded Jazz.com, a music portal launched in December 2007, and served as President and Editor until 2010. He has also created a series of web sites that focus on various aspects of contemporary fiction, including Conceptual Fiction, Great Books Guide, The New Canon, Postmodern Mystery, and Fractious Fiction.

Gioia is a jazz pianist and composer whose recordings include The End of the Open Road (1988), Tango Cool (1990) and The City is a Chinese Vase (1998). He has also produced recordings featuring Bobby Hutcherson, John Handy, Buddy Montgomery and others.

Gioia grew up in an Italian-Mexican household in Hawthorne, California, and later earned degrees from Stanford University and Oxford University, as well as an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He served for a period as an adviser to Fortune 500 companies while with the Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company. He is also the owner of one of the largest collections of research materials on jazz and ethnic music in the Western United States.

Gioia is the brother of poet Dana Gioia.[3]


  • The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • The History of Jazz, Second Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • The Birth (and Death) of the Cool (Colorado: Fulcrum, 2009).
  • Delta Blues (New York: Norton, 2008).
  • West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California 1945-1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). Revised edition published by University of California Press, 1998.
  • The Imperfect Art: Reflections on Jazz and Modern Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988). Portable Stanford edition published in 1988.
  • Love Songs: The Hidden History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • Work Songs. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006).
  • Healing Songs. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006).


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