ARTS 615
Survey of Jazz Styles

Noah Baerman

Overview

In “Survey of Jazz Styles” we will be looking to understand “how jazz works.”  We will be exploring historical developments, but it is not a history class.  We will be delving into some structural issues, but it is not a music theory class – in fact, a background in music theory (while it would be helpful in some cases) is not at all necessary for this course.  In essence, we will be developing the awareness and tools that will allow us to understand and evaluate what we are hearing when we listen to live or recorded jazz.  We will explore how and why the musicians do what they do, and the larger context into which a performance fits.

While the assignments are fairly straightforward, self-motivation is crucial in this class.  To best understand the information, you will want to cross-reference often, putting the new information you learn each week in the context of the music we have already studied.  For example, when we study “the jazz solo,” you are strongly encouraged to go back and listen to solos from recordings to which we have listened in the weeks before.  By the same token, keep an eye out for assignments coming due so that you are prepared.  Perhaps most importantly, absorbing and understanding music can’t be “crammed,” whether you are playing it or listening to it.  It is a process that must take place over a period of time.  Please take that into consideration when pacing your studying and listening – a little bit every day is much better than a concentrated “cramming session” the night before a listening quiz.

If you don’t find this to be too daunting, and if you are intrigued by the prospect of spending a semester listening to a ton of great music, then we’re going to have a blast!  Jazz is a language, and we will have fun developing our fluency.

Grades

Class Participation: 10%                                     Performance Review: 15%

Listening Quizzes: 15%                                         Short Critical Essay: 5%

Comparative Essays 30%                                   Final Project: 25% 

(Assignments handed in late will be lowered by one letter grade per week.

Attendance Policy

You are strongly encouraged to attend every class.  While there are no specific penalties for missing class (aside from “zero” grades for that day’s class participation and listening quiz, if any), it is unlikely that any student who misses class with any frequency will be able to succeed.  

If you must miss class, it is your responsibility to hand in that week’s assignment on time and to catch up on any missed information.  While there are inevitably times when conflicts arise suddenly, arrangements should be made well in advance if at all possible. 

Class-by-class Overview
January 26 Introduction to class; Meet the instruments; How jazz works -- the basics
February 2

Overview of jazz styles

Find three libraries accessible to you that have selections of jazz recordings
Work out logistics of using “E-Res” (online reserves)
Work out logistics for using ITunes and download songs. 

Reading:
Schoenberg: “The Story of Jazz,” “Varieties of Jazz” 

Listening:
”Tiger Rag” by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band
“Heebie Jeebies” by Louis Armstrong
“Jumpin’ At the Woodside” by Count Basie
“King Porter Stomp” by Fletcher Henderson
“Shaw ‘Nuff” by Charlie Parker
“Now’s the Time” by Charlie Parker
“Boplicity” by Miles Davis
“Down Under” by Art Blakey
“The Wizard” by Albert Ayler
“Birdland” by Weather Report

February 9

Improvisation: the jazz solo 

Practice Listening Quiz 

Reading:
Coker: “The Improvised Solo”
Cooke: “The Virtuoso: Louis Armstrong”
Gridley: pg. 66 (“Bix Beiderbecke”)
Porter/Ullman/Hazell: pg. 172-180 (“Coleman Hawkins” and “Lester Young”)
Shipton: pg. 447-469 (“A Remarkable Partnership”) 

Listening:
“Carolina Shout” by James P. Johnson
“Dippermouth Blues” by King Oliver
“West End Blues” by Louis Armstrong
“Weather Bird” by Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines
“Singin’ the Blues” by Bix Beiderbecke
“Summertime” by Sidney Bechet
“Body and Soul” by Coleman Hawkins
“Lester Leaps In” by Count Basie
“I Got Rhythm” by Benny Goodman
“I Found a New Baby” by Benny Goodman
“Nuages” by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli
“Mr. J.B. Blues” by Duke Ellington
“Cottontail” by Duke Ellington
“Tiger Rag” by Art Tatum
“Shaw ‘Nuff” by Charlie Parker
“Koko” by Charlie Parker
“Now’s the Time” by Charlie Parker
“Manteca” by Dizzy Gillespie
“Un Poco Loco” by Bud Powell

February 16

Improvisation (continued) 

Short critical essay on a musician

Reading:
Szwed: “1959: Multiple Revolutions”
Hentoff: pg. 201-217 (“Express Trane”)
Lyons and Perlo: pg. 152-157 (“Miles Davis”)
Lyons and Perlo: pg. 135-138 (“Ornette Coleman”)

Listening:
“Brilliant Corners” by Thelonious Monk
“Bernie’s Tune” by Gerry Mulligan
“Boplicity” by Miles Davis
“All of You” by Miles Davis
“Love Is a Many Splendored Thing” by Clifford Brown and Max Roach
“So What” by Miles Davis
“Giant Steps” by John Coltrane
“Cousin Mary” by John Coltrane
“The Inchworm” by John Coltrane
“Ramblin” by Ornette Coleman
“Embraceable You” by Ornette Coleman
“Rick Kick Shaw” by Cecil Taylor
“The Wizard” by Albert Ayler
“Masqualero” by Miles Davis

February 23

Vocalists                 

Listening Quiz 1 

Initial Final Project proposal 

Reading:
Lyons and Perlo: pg. 473-476 (“Bessie Smith”)
Hentoff: pg 43-59 (“Lady Day”)
Porter/Ullman/Hazell: “Jazz Singing Since the Thirties”

Listening:
“St. Louis Blues” by Bessie Smith
“Heebie Jeebies” by Louis Armstrong
“Lover Man” by Billie Holiday
“Cottontail” by Duke Ellington
“Cottontail” by Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald
“Lover Man” by Sarah Vaughan
“On the Sunny Side of the Street” by Nat “King” Cole
”Every Day I Have the Blues” by Joe Williams and Count Basie
“Cottontail” by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross
“Medley: I Didn’t Know What Time It Was/All the Things You Are/I Could Write A Book” by Betty Carter

March 2

Rhythm Sections 

Comparative essay 1 

Reading:
Gridley: pg. 122-124 (from “The Count Basie Bands”)
Lyons and Perlo: pg. 116-117 (“Paul Chambers”)
Lyons and Perlo: pg. 211-212 (“Red Garland”)
Lyons and Perlo: pg. 317-318 (“Philly Joe Jones”)
Gridley: pg. 244-247 (from “John Coltrane”)
Gridley: pg. 282-290 (“Bill Evans”)
Gridley: pg. 224-228 (from “Miles Davis”)

Listening:
“Jumpin’ At the Woodside” by Count Basie
“Lester Leaps In” by Count Basie
“All of You” by Miles Davis
“Milestones” by Miles Davis
“On the Sunny Side of the Street” by Jimmy Smith
“Cousin Mary” by John Coltrane
“The Inchworm” by John Coltrane
“Waltz for Debby” by Bill Evans
“Solar” by Bill Evans
“Nefertiti” by Miles Davis
“Ramblin” by Ornette Coleman
“Masqualero” by Miles Davis

March 9

Tunes (song forms, song types, compositions, etc.) 

Listening Quiz 2 

Reading:
Martin: “Types of Songs Found in Jazz”
Gridley: pg. 369-377 (various aspects of song form) 

Listening:
“King Porter Stomp” by Jelly Roll Morton
“I Got Rhythm” by Benny Goodman
“Shaw ‘Nuff” by Charlie Parker
“Lover Man” by Billie Holiday
“Every Day I Have the Blues” by Joe Williams and Count Basie
“Now’s the Time” by Charlie Parker
“Solar” by Bill Evans
“St. Louis Blues” by Bessie Smith
“Sister Sadie” by Horace Silver
“Jumpin’ At the Woodside” by Count Basie
“King Porter Stomp” by Fletcher Henderson
“Boplicity” by Miles Davis
“All About Rosie” by Bill Evans with George Russell
“Ramblin” by Ornette Coleman

March 30

Tunes (the most important jazz composers) 

Comparative essay 2  

Reading:
Gridley: pg. 56 (“Jelly Roll Morton”)
Cooke: “The Composer: Duke Ellington”
Shipton: pg. 484-491 (Thelonious Monk section from “Bebop Piano”)
Shipton: pg. 762-772 (“Charles Mingus”)

Listening:
“King Porter Stomp” by Jelly Roll Morton
“Black Bottom Stomp” by Jelly Roll Morton
“East St. Louis Toodlee-Oo” by Duke Ellington
“Ko-Ko” by Duke Ellington
“Cottontail” by Duke Ellington
“Ruby My Dear” by Thelonious Monk
“Brilliant Corners” by Thelonious Monk
“Criss-Cross” by Thelonious Monk  
“Better Get It In Your Soul” by Charles Mingus
“The Shoes of the Fisherman’s Wife Are Some Jive-Ass Slippers” by Charles Mingus

April 6

Fusion, Latin Jazz and “Cross-Pollination” with other styles 

Final proposal for Final Project 

Reading:
Gridley: pg. 341-344 (“Latin Jazz”)
Porter/Ullman/Hazell: pg. 253-256 (from “The Fifties, Cool and Third Stream”)
Nicholson: “Fusions and Crossovers”

Listening:
“Django” by the Modern Jazz Quartet
“All About Rosie” by Bill Evans with George Russell
“Blue Rondo a la Turk” by Dave Brubeck
“It’s About That Time” by Miles Davis
“Birds of Fire” by the Mahavishnu Orchestra
“Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock
“Birdland” by Weather Report
“Long As You Know You’re Living Yours” by Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett et al.
“Nuages” by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli
“Manteca” by Dizzy Gillespie
“Un Poco Loco” by Bud Powell
“The Girl From Ipanema” by Antonio Carlos Jobim et al.
“In Walked Bud” by Eddie Palmieri
“Captain Marvel” by Chick Corea

April 13

Jazz Today 

Listening Quiz 3 

Reading:
Porter: “Traditionalism, Revivalism and the ‘Young Lions,’ 1980 to the present” 

Listening:
“Caravan” by Wynton Marsalis
“Doctone” by Branford Marsalis
“Peace of Mind” by D.D. Jackson

April 20

Live Performance/demo with Noah Baerman Trio 

Comparative Essay 3

April 27

Final Project Presentations 

Performance review  

Final Project

May 4

Final Project Presentations                 

(Final Project)

Listening to Music

Jazz is primarily an aural tradition.  As such, the ability to hear things is the foremost tool we use in understanding the music.  Most of our class time will be devoted to guided listening.   

Some notes about listening assignments: 

- Absorbing and understanding music can’t be “crammed,” whether you are playing it or listening to it.  It is a process that must take place over a period of time.  Please take that into consideration when pacing your studying and listening – a little bit every day is much better than a concentrated “cramming session” the night before a paper is due, and your work will bear witness to this fact. 

- As with reading, it is useful to be sensitive to your lucidity level when you begin a session of listening.  Just as, when tired, one can read the same paragraph over and over without absorbing its content, listening to music without concentrating will have limited study value.  If you are simply looking for a general impression of a song, this can be fine.  Just don’t mistake that sort of listening for the sort of studying necessary to get the most out of the listening for a course like this.   

This is especially relevant if music typically functions in your life as “background sound.”  There is nothing wrong with that, it is simply important to realize that greater levels of attentiveness and concentration are necessary in this context.  Just as you would not expect to get much out of reading a chapter from a book while checking your email or cooking dinner, this music warrants your undivided attention when the time comes to really study it.  Go ahead and listen in the background as well, just don’t mistake that for studying. 

- Recognize that even under the best of circumstances you can only absorb a limited amount of information in a single listening to a piece of music.  Try “zoning in” and listening to more specific elements with each successive listening session.  For example:

-         Listening #1: Get a general feel for the music.

-         Listening #2: Determine the overall structure to the piece (for example, introduction, melody, trumpet solo, piano solo, repeat of melody with the last melody phrase repeated three times).

-         Listening #3: Focus on the way the song’s melody (if it has one) is played and on the playing of each soloist.

-         Listening #4: Focus on the rhythm section.

-         Listening #5: Focus on the soloists’ interaction with the rhythm section.  

This could go on ad infinitum, exploring different elements of a particular musician’s performance and the interactions between different combinations of musicians.  Likewise, you could focus on different elements.  Your own levels of experience, perceptiveness, seriousness and curiosity may lead you to give a particular piece more or fewer “spins.” 

- Whether you are preparing to write a Comparative Essay or simply doing your weekly listening assignment, look for significant similarities and differences between musicians and recordings.  Doing this will give you a deeper understanding of the common elements that define a sub-genre or “movement” and of the divergent elements that define the styles of more individualistic musicians.   

As you gain more experience, you will become better able to judge what constitutes a “significant” similarity or difference.  For example, “song #1 was 4 minutes long, while song #2 was only 3 minutes and 55 seconds” probably does not qualify as a significant difference, nor does “the drummers in both songs used drumsticks to hit cymbals” qualify as a noteworthy similarity. 

 - While a listening assignment may pertain to the specific unit to be covered in the upcoming week’s class, you are encouraged to revisit that music following the class.  What you have learned in class will likely impact your perception of the music and your ability to hear things within it.  Consider this to be another form of reviewing your notes or readings after a class has taken place.

ITunes Information

The 74 listening examples you will be expected to study for class assignments can be downloaded from ITunes ( www.itunes.com ).  With the right computer equipment, downloading this music is quite simple.  Each song costs $1.00 (99 cents plus tax) and can be downloaded quickly on a high-speed connection, thus providing an inexpensive alternative to purchasing the entire album for each a piece of music assigned (the latter approach is, of course, fine for those students with unlimited time and music budgets). 

If you do not already have ITunes software on your computer, it can be downloaded for free at http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ for either Mac or Windows.  See that website as well for system requirements.  If your computer does not meet these minimum requirements, you are asked to use your networking (in the traditional sense, not the computer sense) skills.  That is, if you have a cooperative and computer-savvy friend, relative or co-worker, please take advantage of this!  If someone can help you download the songs and burn them to a CD, you will at that point no longer need to use ITunes (unless you choose to use it as one of your sources of material, in addition to or instead of libraries, when conducting research).   

The tunes you will need to download can be found by clicking on this link, which in turn will load the “IMix” in ITunes (assuming you have ITunes on your computer).  If typing this is too arduous, send me an email and I will email you the link. 

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPublishedPlaylist?id=653707

 If you click on “Buy All Songs,” then the downloading process will be simple and streamlined.  It is highly recommended that you acquire the songs in this manner.  If you already own some of these songs and/or wish to acquire them another way (thus downloading only the “missing pieces” from this IMix), make sure you have and/or get the correct versions.  In many cases, multiple versions of a song exist, even if the song title and artist are the same.  Using the IMix referenced above is an easy and reliable method that will guarantee that you have the correct versions of the songs.  You will be responsible for studying the same music that your classmates are studying, so it is important that you pay close attention to finding the correct versions if you choose to use another method of acquiring the songs. 

            All of these songs will also be available on a series of compilation CDs, on reserve at the Scores and Recordings Library, on the third floor of Olin Library.  If you choose to eschew ITunes altogether, this will be your means of accessing the recordings, though it will require that you do all of your listening at the library.

Online Reserves

Assigned readings will be available through Wesleyan Electronic Reserve.  Once you’ve done this once or twice, it should be pretty intuitive.

-         Go to the Wesleyan library system homepage at www.wesleyan.edu/libr

-         Click on the “Course Reserves” link (the third one on the left, under the catalog links)

-         Click “Connect to ERes, the electronic reserve system to retrieve online readings”

-         Enter your Wesleyan username and password

-         Click on the first link, “Electronic Reserves & Reserves Pages”

-         Using the menu selections, search by course number (615), course name (“Survey of Jazz Styles”) department (GLSP Arts) or instructor name (Baerman)

-         Click on the link for the “Jazz in the Sixties” course

-         Enter the following password: “ARTS615” (yes, that’s the course number)

-         At this point you will find a menu from which you can select and click on the reading you intend to study. 

Technical Notes

-         These readings are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader software, which is free to download if you do not already have it.

-         You can print the documents or read them on the computer screen.  In the latter case you may have to adjust the page orientation (using the “rotate view clockwise” command) and “zoom in” to make things legible. 

-         If you have trouble connecting to electronic reserves, you may need to adjust your proxy settings – for information, check out www.wesleyan.edu/libr/proxy.htm

-         If you have not used ERes recently for other classes, it is possible that you are not in their database and will need to follow the corresponding link on the login page (or simply send an email to Steve Bischof [sbischof@wesleyan.edu] with the subject line “Ezproxy problem,” your Wesleyan username, and a request to be authorized to use the “ERes” system).  Do this sooner rather than later to ensure that you will be ready to use the system when the time comes to do your first readings. 

-         You can also find “hard copies” of all of these readings at Olin Library’s Reserve Desk.

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