Jazz Appreciation

In this course, we will study the origins and development of the jazz idiom. We will listen deeply to selected recordings from the history of jazz, learning to engage critically, thoughtfully, and articulately with this unique form of music. This will require that we develop an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts in which this music emerged and transformed. Why did jazz music emerge in America in the 1890s? Why did people around the world so readily adopt this new sound as their own? A selection of readings will help us begin to answer these questions. Throughout the semester, students will keep a listening journal, recording their thoughts and reactions to our example recordings— selections of traditional jazz, big band swing, bebop, hard bop, post bop, free jazz, fusion jazz, spiritual jazz, smooth jazz, and so on, recorded by men and women from around the world as early as 1917 and as recently as last week.

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