Category Archives: Course Materials

Final Week of New Material

Yesterday’s discussion on Neo-Classicism and the Young Lions was extremely fruitful for me and everyone in attendance. In the coming days, I’ll be posting in this post’s comments reactions to the material from those who were absent (names redacted).

In the meantime, here is the final set of MP3s for the course that highlight how remix aesthetics and experimentalism have influenced jazz over the last 10-15 years. As I noted yesterday, there is no reading assignment; thus, I expect you to pay extra attention to the listening and have some concrete things to say about each example on the syllabus. Feel free to look up some information about the artists or tracks that most interest you. The reduced weekly assignment should allow you considerably more time to focus on your final papers.

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Materials for “The Young Lions” and Jazz History.

Here is a link to music for next week. Our topic on “The Young Lions” and Jazz History will deal directly with the institutional legacies of the 1980s. Fittingly, we will read a chapter from Dave Ake’s Jazz Cultures that deals with the contrasting marketing and branding strategies of jazz artists during the late 1980s and early 1990s. As you listen to this music, pay attention to how it contrasts with the music of the last two weeks.

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Fusion in the 1970s

Here is the link for this week’s listening. We will also by reading Charles Carson’s article on Grover Washington Jr. and Smooth Jazz. Carson is an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to his research on jazz, he has also published on the musical experience of Disney theme parks. For those of us living Florida, there is something especially prescient about that.

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Materials for Avant Garde Jazz

Here is the listening for next week. You will notice that there are two versions of Charles Mingus’s “Fables of Faubus”: one is the first one that was commercially released, the other is how Mingus and his band played the tune live.

Here is the article by George Lewis. Although I initially intended to give you the version available in The Other Side of Nowhere, this one is briefer, is easier to read on e-readers, and lacks the addendum that Lewis included when the essay was included in that edited collection. If you would like to read the version from The Other Side of Nowhere, please let me know.

For next week, there are many ideas to chew on. Those of you especially interested in elements of Afro-Futurism (i.e. Sun-Ra) should check out his film, Space is the Place (1974). Here it is in its entirety:

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Modal Jazz to Post Bop

Here is the additional listening for this week. Here are transcriptions of Miles Davis’s “So What,” John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” and Wayne Shorter’s “Witch Hunt.”

This week we are dealing with the immediate aftermath of Cool and Hard Bop (and the continuation of “Modern Jazz”), with a special emphasis on Miles Davis and John Coltrane and their legacy in the realm of post-bop. Since many of these recordings have been so influential, we are going to dedicate a considerable about of time to looking at transcriptions and discussing the consequences of these musical developments on jazz.

ETA: I should add that the repertoire we are doing this week has, for better or worse, been very influential for contemporary students of jazz. To this day, a player’s ability to play over the “Giant Steps” changes is understood as a benchmark of ability (and is often taught in jazz programs around the country). Further, doing so without sounding like Coltrane is a further challenge. Jazz scholar David Ake has written about this particular phenomenon in Jazz Cultures.

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Recordings for Cool Jazz and Hard Bop

Here is the additional listening for the last week of Mod 1. As we continue to explore what our text dubs “Modern Jazz,” the recordings will be getting longer as musicians explore the new freedom of long playing (LP) records. Many of these tracks exceed five minutes each and some get considerably longer: Art Blakey’s “Moanin'” is over 9 minutes long and Sonny Rollins’ “Blue Seven” is just over 11 minutes. Something to consider as we listen more closely to cool jazz and hard bop: what effect do these longer recordings have on the overall aesthetic of jazz? Further, how does increased recording length change the act of listening to jazz?

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Be-Bop: Additional Materials

Here‘s the reading that I have assigned in addition to our textbooks for our week of Be-Bop. It is a chapter from Bernard Gendron’s Between Montmarte and the Mudd Club: Popular Music and the Avant-Garde. Gendron is an unconventional music scholar who comes to jazz and popular music from the perspective of philosophy. He is a very friendly guy and is the only scholar I’ve met who can present a 40-minute scholarly talk without the aide of notes.

Everyone is required to read the first chapter, but the second chapter is also very informative and might be useful to those of you interested in the cultural resonance of Be-Bop within the larger milieu of post-war jazz. Please make time to look at both, if possible.

Since the transcriptions of Parker’s solos in “Ko-Ko” and “Shawnuff” weren’t legible, here are better versions (from the e-flat edition of the Charlie Parker Omnibook). And, finally, here are the tracks we’ll be discussing that aren’t on the Norton CDs.

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