Ted Gioia: The Jazz Standards: A Guide To The Repertoire (Oxford)
In nearly 500 pages, Gioia covers 254 songs that he considers the core of the jazz repertoire. They include compositions by jazz musicians as well as standard songs. Duke Ellington, of course, fits both categories. In a typical essay of perhaps 500 words, Gioia discusses a song’s and its writer’s history, its musical form and construction and, often, its social and cultural significance. He also recommends important recordings of the pieces. One might quibble about tunes that are left out, but this book is both a valuable research tool and a fine read. That’s a rare and desirable combination.