Banner: The Jazz Tradition in America


The Jazz Tradition in America
Spring 2005
Ralph Russell, Lecturer
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:45 - 2:05
BCA 152
Office: BCA 261
Office Hours: Tuesdays 3:30 - 4:30, Thursdays 2:30 - 4:30

Jazz is respectively regarded as America's classical music. Its incomparable blend of blues, popular song, Latin rhythms and characteristic use of improvisation has markedly made jazz one of America's most eclectic genres. The purpose of this course is to examine and discuss the major periods of jazz and the role it played in shaping our socio-cultural identity. First we will study the characteristics of such styles as New Orleans jazz, swing, bebop and Afro-Cuban jazz and the compositional and performance styles of major artists for example Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Tito Puente. Finally we will discuss jazz in the context of social and intellectual history (i.e. in regards to race, gender and culture).

Course Objectives:

Required Materials:

Martin, Henry and Keith Waters. Essential Jazz. The First 100 Years. (w/ Primer)

On Reserve

Berliner, Paul. Thinking in Jazz

Monson Ingrid. Saying Something

Additional readings will be added

Recordings will also be on reserve.

Course Requirements:

Late papers will be lowered one letter grade .

Grade Breakdown:

Final Paper. 27%
Midterm paper 24%
Two Short papers 9% each
Two exams. First exam 9% , Midterm exam 17 %
Oral presentation. 5%

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