Ted Gioia:  Bio

Ted Gioia is a musician and author, and has published eleven non-fiction
books, including his latest work
Music: A Subversive History (released in
October 2019 by Basic Books). His books have been translated into
Spanish, Italian, German, Greek, Turkish, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese.
Gioia's wide-ranging activities as a critic, historian, performer, educator and
YouTube presenter have established him as a leading global guide to music
past, present and future.

Gioia has been called "one of the outstanding music historians in America"
by the
Dallas Morning News.  He has served on the faculty of Stanford
University, and published in many of the leading newspapers, periodicals
and websites, including the
New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall
Street Journal
, Smithsonian, The American Scholar, Music Quarterly,
The Daily Beast, Lapham's Quarterly, Bookforum, Salon, Dallas Morning
, San Francisco Chronicle, The Quietus, The Guardian,  Popular
, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, The Atlantic
, City Journal, The Threepenny Review, PopMatters, and The
Hudson Review

"I can't speak highly enough about
Music: A Subversive History writes
critic Michael Dirda in the
Washington Post. The book has been praised
by Robert Christgau, in the
Los Angeles Times as "a dauntingly ambitious,
obsessively researched work of cultural provocation." Composer Terry Riley
calls Gioia "one of the most perceptive writers on music" and praises his
new book as "a mind opening and totally engaging read."

Ted Gioia's previous book
How to Listen to Jazz (Basic Books) was
selected as the best book of the year by the readers of
Jazz Times magazine.
"Mr Gioia could not have done a better job." wrote
The Economist. "Through
him, jazz might even find new devotees." This book "fills an important and
obvious gap by offering a sensible and jargon-free introduction," according to
Washington Post, and "deserves a place alongside....classic works of
jazz criticism."

Gioia's previous book
Love Songs: The Hidden History (Oxford University
Press), winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, stands out as one of the
most influential music history books of recent years. This path-breaking book
represents  the first complete survey of 5,000 years of the music of romance,
courtship and sexuality. "Gioia’s book covers a tremendous amount of ground
and gives you something to remember on almost every page," declares
New Yorker
. "He invites the critic’s cliché 'wonderfully erudite', and earns it, not
to mention the even cheaper critical term 'provocative', though he earns that,
The Atlantic Monthly calls Love Songs "a mind-expanding, deep-focus
piece of scholarship....Gioia’s book achieves intellectual liftoff, high learning
combining with high imagination."

Gioia is perhaps best known as the author of
The History of Jazz, which
has sold more than 100,000 copies and ranks as the bestselling survey of jazz
published during the last quarter century.
The History of Jazz was selected as
one of the twenty best books of the year by Jonathan Yardley in the
Washington Post, and was chosen as a notable book of the year in the
New York Times. In 2012, Gioia released the bestselling The Jazz
Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire, published by Oxford University
Press. The book received early praise from Dave Brubeck and Sonny
Rollins, and was lauded by the
Wall Street Journal as "the first general-
interest, wide-ranging and authoritative guide to the basic contemporary
jazz canon."   

From 2007 until 2010, Gioia served as founding president, editor and
resident blogger for www.jazz.com, a popular web music media portal.  
In 2006, Gioia published two books simultaneously,
Work Songs and
Healing Songs, the result of more a decade of research into traditional
music, and both works were honored with a special ASCAP-Deems
Taylor Award. Gioia’s 2008 book
Delta Blues, published by W.W.
Norton, was also selected by
The New York Times as one of the 100
most notable of the year, and was picked as one of the best books of
the year by
The Economist.  Gioia has also written extensively on
popular culture, most notably in his 2009 book
 The Birth (and the Death)
of Cool
, a work of cultural criticism and a historical survey of hipness—
his concept of
post-cool, outlined in this work, was highlighted as one
of the "ideas of the year" by
Adbusters.  "The prose is so strong, simple
and evocative that it brings the reader almost to tears with longing,"
Washington Post
has written of this book. "It will force you to think about
making connections you haven't made before.”

Gioia was raised in a Sicilian-Mexican household in Hawthorne,
California, a working class neighborhood in the South-Central area of
Los Angeles. Gioia was valedictorian and a National Merit Scholar
at Hawthorne High School, and attended Stanford University. There
he received a degree in English (graduating with honors and distinction),
served as editor of Stanford’s literary magazine,
Sequoia, and wrote
regularly for the
Stanford Daily.  He was a member of Stanford’s College
Bowl team, which was featured on television, and defeated Yale in the
national finals. Gioia also worked extensively as a jazz pianist during
this period, and designed and taught a class on jazz at Stanford while
still an undergraduate.

After graduation, Gioia received a degree in Philosophy, Politics and
Economics at Oxford University, where he graduated with first class
honors. He then received an MBA from Stanford University.  

Gioia has enjoyed successes in the worlds of music, writing and
business. In the business world, Gioia has consulted to Fortune 500
companies while working for McKinsey and the Boston Consulting
Group.  He helped Sola International complete an LBO and IPO on the
New York Stock Exchange in the 1990s.  He has undertaken business
projects in 25 countries on five continents, and has managed large
businesses (up to $200 million in revenues). While working amidst the
venture capital community on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley, Gioia
stood out from the crowd as the "guy with the piano in his office."

But Gioia is best known for his activities in the jazz world.  He worked
with Stanford's Department of Music in the 1980s to establish a formal
jazz studies program, and served on the faculty alongside artist-in-
residence Stan Getz, for several years. Around this time, Gioia's first
book was published by Oxford University Press,
The  Imperfect Art,
which was awarded the ASCAP-Deems Taylor award and was named
a “Jazz Book of the Century” by Jazz Educators Journal.  Gioia released
his first recording as a jazz pianist a few months later --
The End of the
Open Road, a trio recording with Eddie Moore and Larry Grenadier –
and received airplay on more than 500 radio stations in the US. Gioia
also produced a series of recordings featuring other West Coast jazz
musicians. Gioia has since recorded two more CDs,
Tango Cool and
The City is a Chinese Vase.

Gioia’s follow-up book for Oxford University Press,
West Coast Jazz, is
frequently acknowledged as one of the classics of the jazz literature.
West Coast Jazz was re-issued in an expanded edition by University of
California Press in 1998 and remains the definitive work on the subject.   

He is also a frequent speaker at colleges, conferences and public events.
Gioia has given talks at the Library of Congress, the American Jazz Museum,
SF Jazz, the Barcelona Jazz Festival, the NY Times Center, Stanford
University and other locales in the US and abroad.

Gioia's current interests cover a wide range of areas. He is composing
a series of solo piano pieces that draw both from jazz and classical
music traditions. He is a frequent guest speaker at colleges and conferences,
and conducts workshops on creativity. Gioia also reviews contemporary
fiction for various periodicals and his writing on books can be found at his
web sites
www.greatbooksguide.com, www.fractiousfiction.com,
www.thenewcanon.com, www.postmodernmystery.com and
Ted Gioia can be contacted at

For promotional photos, click
Selected articles by Ted Gioia on the web

The African Origins of the Love Song
The Rise of the Fragmented Novel
Why Are Music Scholars Ignoring Musical Universals?
The Adventurer's Guide to Finnegans Wake
Notes on Conceptual Fiction
Has Music Criticism Turned Into Lifestyle Reporting?
Schopenhauer for Millennials
Where Did Music Come From? (NPR Interview)
Vladimir Nabokov, Sci-Fi Writer
Bach the Rebel
How Sartre Cured Existential Angst with Jazz
If John Coltrane Had Lived
Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp
Why Gregory Bateson Matters
The Decline of Satire
Music as Cultural Cloud Storage
My Year of Horrible Reading
The Backlash Against Jazz
The Con Man Who Invented American Popular Music
The Bumbling Shostakovich
The Rise of Artisan Music
The Year American Speech Became Art
What We've Learned About the NSA
The 8 Memes of the Postmodern Mystery
Ted Gioia Interviews Composer Terry Riley
Four Essays on Leo Tolstoy
Why the Fuss About Jonathan Franzen?
Slaves for Love: How Bondage Shaped the Love Song
A Conversation About Jazz with Ted Gioia
The 100 Best Recordings of 2020
The 100 Best Recordings of 2019
The 100 Best Recordings of 2018
The 100 Best Recordings of 2017
The 100 Best Recordings of 2016
The 100 Best Recordings of 2015
The 100 Best Recordings of 2014
The 100 Best Recordings of 2013
The 100 Best Recordings of 2012
The 100 Best Recordings of 2011
The Weirdest 1960s Novel of Them All
Franco: The James Brown of Africa
How Alice Got to Wonderland
Does the Music Business Need Musicianship?
The King of Western Swing
Post Cool
The Year of Magical Reading
Why Music Ownership Matters
The Tragic Story of America's First Black Music Star
Frank Sinatra at 100
Ella Fitzgerald at 100
Music and Violence (video talk)
What is the Clumsiest Classic Novel?
The Crisis in Music (podcast)
The Weird Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
How to Fix Online Music
My 10 Favorite Novels on Music
A Conversation with Ted Gioia about Love Songs
The Music of the Tango
The Letter That Changed the Course of Modern Lit
The End of the Angry Guitar
Is Miles Davis's Kind of Blue the Greatest Jazz Album?
The War Between Music and Mathematics (Video)
How Joan of Arc Conquered Mark Twain
The West Coast Jazz Revival
The Most Intriguing Musicians of 2017
Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook
Do Blues Musicians Need to be Really, Really Old?
The Unconventional Sci-Fi of Kurt Vonnegut
Twelve Essential Tango Recordings
Alan Lomax and the FBI
Robert Musil and The Man Without Qualities
Cool Jazz in 100 Tracks (Part 1) (Part 2)
Lecture on the History of Love Songs
Henry James, Horror Writer
Why Only Revolutions Will Not Be Televised
David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest
The Crisis in Music (video lecture)
How Good a Singer Was Dean Martin?
How Music Videos Changed Love Songs
Why Bessie Smith Matters
The Zombification of Popular Music
The New Revolt of the Masses
Was Ambrose Bierce Inspired by Agoraphobia?
Apple's New Paradigm for Music
Fix-Up Artist: The Chaotic SF of A.E. van Vogt
Jazz Vocals in the New Millennium
A History of New Orleans Music in 100 Tracks
The Making of Ulysses
The Great American Novel That Wasn't
In Search of Dupree Bolton
Gulliver's Travels and the Birth of Genre Fiction
Five Essays on Novelist John Fowles
Where Did Our Revolution Go?
How Lester Young Changed the English Language
The Reinvention of the Cowboy Novel
The Many Lives of James Joyce
The Complex Gender History of the Love Song
William Gaddis's The Recognitions
5 Lessons the Music Biz Can Learn from TV
Hipsters: The New Scapegoats
B.B. King's Best Performances
The Most Mysterious Woman in Sci-Fi
Whitney Balliett: The Poet of Jazz Writing
12 Memorable Works of Hispanic Fiction
Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice
The Alt Reality Nobel Prize
The Decline of a Great Jazz Record Label
Don DeLillo's Underworld
How NY Became Center of the Jazz World
Milton Nascimento: 12 Essential Tracks
When Science Fiction Grew Up
The Most Influential Film of the 20th Century
Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch
Is Sleep Music a Real Genre?
Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections
Curse You, Neil Armstrong!
Bill Evans: 12 Essential Tracks
Early Vintage Wynton Marsalis
Remembering Cordwainer Smith
My Favorite American Novel
Q&A with Ted Gioia
The Jazz Pianist JFK Saved
A Look Back at Martin Gardner
Robert Heinlein at One Hundred
The Fourteen Skies of Michael Chabon
Is Bird Dead?
Philip K. Dick's VALIS
Why Lester Young Matters
Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire
Making a Case for Clark Ashton Smtih
Italo Calvino's Winter's NIght
Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude
Could Chet Baker Play Jazz?
Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow
The Jazzy Side of Frank Zappa
Fritz Leiber at 100
Günter Grass's The Tin Drum
John Coltrane: Prophet and Seer (video)
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas
Harlem Jazz: 12 Essential Tracks
Mark Z. Danielweski's House of Leaves
The Postmodern Mystery: 50 Essential Works
Art Tatum at 100: 12 Essential Tracks
Fringe Guitar
J.G. Ballard's Crash
Interview with Dana and Ted Gioia
The Puzzling Case of Robert Sheckley
Robert Johnson and the Devil
Fear and Self-Loathing in Scandinavia
Herbie Hancock: 12 Essential Tracks
Remembering Drums of Passion
Three Existential Horror Novels
Keith Jarrett: 12 Essential Tracks
In Defense of The Hobbit
Brad Mehldau: 12 Essential Tracks
David Foster Wallace's The Pale King
The South Asian Tinge in Jazz
Assessing Brad Mehldau at Mid-Career
Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian
Can Clubs Legally Ask Musicians to Play for Free?
Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones
Lennie Tristano: 12 Essential Tracks
Virginia Woolf's Orlando
Why Cool is Dead
A Tribute to Richard Matheson
The Pianism of Denny Zeitlin
The Chronicles of Narnia
David Bowie's Jazz-Oriented Valedictory
Tito Puente: The Complete 78s (1949-1955)
Toni Morrison's Beloved
The Tragedy of Richard Twardzik
Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue
The Science Fiction of Samuel Delany
Can Tarzan Survive in a Post-Colonial World?
Duke Ellington's Sacred Music
Ian McEwan's Atonement
Can a Dictionary be a Novel?
New Details About the Young William Gaddis
Interview with Ted Gioia (on Delta Blues)
William Gaddis's JR
Roberto Bolaño's 2666
Talking to Myself About the State of Jazz
Harper Lee and Her Great Southern Novel
Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain
Italo Calvino's Neglected Sci-Fi Masterpiece
Philip Roth's American Pastoral
Ken Kesey's Novel-in-a-Box
How I Learned I Was a Jazz Fan