Ted Gioia

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Ted Gioia
Born (1957-10-21) October 21, 1957 (age 66)
Hawthorne, California, U.S.
OccupationMusic historian, pianist, writer
Alma materStanford University (B.A.)
University of Oxford (M.A.)
Stanford Business School (MBA)
Notable worksThe Birth (and Death) of the Cool (2009); Work Songs (2006); Healing Songs (2006); Love Songs: The Hidden History (2015)
RelativesDana Gioia (brother)

Ted Gioia (born October 21, 1957) is an American jazz critic and music historian. He is author of eleven books, including Music: A Subversive History, The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire, The History of Jazz and Delta Blues. He is also a jazz musician and one of the founders of Stanford University's jazz studies program.[1][2][3][4][5]

Early years[edit]

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. When Gioia worked amidst Silicon Valley's venture capital community on Sand Hill Road, he was known as the "guy with the piano in his office."[6] Gioia is also 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.[7][8]


Gioia is the author of several books on music, including Music: A Subversive History (2019), West Coast Jazz (1992), The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire (2012), and The Birth (and Death) of the Cool (2009). A second updated and expanded edition of The History of Jazz was published by Oxford University Press in 2011, and a third revised edition was issued in 2021.[9] Love Songs: The Hidden History, published by Oxford University Press in 2015, is a survey of the music of courtship, romance, and sexuality;[10] it completes a trilogy of books on the social history of music that includes Work Songs (2006) and Healing Songs (2006). All three books have been honored with ASCAP's Deems Taylor Award.[11][12] In his study of love songs, Gioia contends that innovations in the history of this music came from Africa and the Middle East.[13]

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.[14] He founded jazz.com in December 2007 and served as president and editor until 2010. He has also created a series of websites on contemporary fiction.

Gioia is also a jazz pianist and composer. He has produced recordings featuring Bobby Hutcherson, John Handy, and Buddy Montgomery.

In 2021, Gioia announced on Twitter his forthcoming collaboration with Ted-Ed on an animated introduction to jazz history.

Awards and honors[edit]

Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz Journalism, Jazz Journalists Association, 2017.[15]

The Dallas Morning News has called Ted Gioia "one of the outstanding music historians in America." His concept of "post-cool" described in his book The Birth (and Death) of the Cool, was selected as one of the Big Ideas of 2012 by Adbusters magazine.[16]

ASCAP Deems Taylor Award: The Imperfect Art (1989), Work Songs (2006), Healing Songs (2006), Love Songs: The Hidden History (2015).[16]


  • Music: A Subversive History, Basic Books (2019); OCLC 1083153301
  • The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire, Oxford University Press (2012); OCLC 820009853
  • The History of Jazz, Oxford University Press[17]
  • How to Listen to Jazz, Basic Books (2016); OCLC 921864226
  • The Birth (and Death) of the Cool, Speck Press (2009); OCLC 318875640
  • Delta Blues: The Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters who Revolutionized American music, Norton (2008); OCLC 212893669[18]
  • West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California 1945-1960, Oxford University Press
  • The Imperfect Art: Reflections on Jazz and Modern Culture, Oxford University Press (1988); OCLC 17327524
  • Love Songs: The Hidden History, Oxford University Press (2015); OCLC 880349805, 906023459
  • Work Songs, Duke University Press (2006); OCLC 61478791
  • Healing Songs, Duke University Press (2006); OCLC 63702993

Selected discography[edit]

  • The End of the Open Road, Ted Gioia Trio, Quartet Records Q1001 (1988); OCLC 32182337
Recorded June 9–11, 1986, and October 19, 1987, Menlo Park, California
  • Tango Cool, Ted Gioia Trio, Quartet Record QCD1006 (1990); OCLC 23948930
Recorded March 31, 1989, and April 7, 1990, San Francisco
  • The City is a Chinese Vase (1998)


  1. ^ Contemporary Authors, Gale Group; ISSN 0887-3070
        Vol.  127 (1989); OCLC 35395922
        Vol.  86, new edition (2000); OCLC 43697091
  2. ^ The International Authors and Writers Who's Who (12th edn), Ernest Kay (ed.), International Biographical Centre (1991); OCLC 59895267
  3. ^ The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd edn) (Gioia is in Vol. 2 of 3), Barry Dean Kernfeld (ed.), Macmillan Publishers (2002); OCLC 46956628.
  4. ^ Who's Who in Entertainment (3rd edn, 1998–1999), Marquis Who's Who (1997); OCLC 54303731
  5. ^ Who's Who in the West, Marquis Who's Who; OCLC 0896-7709
        24th edn, 1994–1995 (1993); OCLC 30525324
        25th edn, 1996–1997 (1995); OCLC 33938880
  6. ^ Michael Hoinski, "Come On Feel the Noise", Texas Monthly, September 2016.
  7. ^ Cynthia Haven, "Changing His Tune", Stanford Alumni Association News, 2007.
  8. ^ Barbara Ries, "Poet Provocateur", The Stanford Magazine, July/August 2000; ISSN 0745-3981
  9. ^ Weiner, Natalie, "Re-Revising The History Of Jazz", NPR.org, July 15, 2021 (includes an interview with author Gioia)
  10. ^ Love Songs: The Hidden History, by Ted Gioia, at Penn State University Libraries
  11. ^ "40th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards Presented", ASCAPFoundation.org, October 15, 2007
  12. ^ "48th Annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award Winners", ASCAPFoundation.org, November 8, 2016
  13. ^ Ted Gioia, "Was the Love Song Invented in Africa and the Middle East", The Daily Beast, February 8, 2015.
  14. ^ Gioia, Ted, "The Red Rumor Blues," Los Angeles Times, April 23, 2006
  15. ^ "Wadada Leo Smith Among Winners of 2017 JJA Awards". DownBeat Magazine. May 16, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Post-Cool," Archived February 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine by Ted Gioia, Adbusters, December 15, 2011.
  17. ^ "Notable Books of the Year 1998", The New York Times, December 6, 1998.
  18. ^ "100 Notable Books of 2008", The New York Times, November 26, 2008.

External links[edit]