Fall 2003

Survey of Jazz Styles


09/08/2003 - 12/13/2003
Monday 07:00 PM - 09:30 PM

Music Studios 301

What is the difference between "cool jazz" and "hot jazz" or "bebop" and "hard bop?" What does the bass player do in a jazz group? How has that changed over time? Why is Louis Armstrong so important? If you have ever wondered about questions like these, you are not alone. Here in the 21st century, jazz has finally started to earn the respect it deserves, but not everyone understands how it works. The purpose of this course is to build this understanding. Each sub-topic will be examined within the broader context of jazz history

Our working knowledge of jazz will be built through class discussions, selected readings and assignments, and above all, extensive listening. Students will learn the roles of each member of a jazz ensemble and how these roles have evolved. They will learn the distinctions (and similarities) between various sub-categories and chronological periods in jazz. They will learn about great artists including those-like Armstrong, Charlie Parker and Count Basie-who epitomized certain movements in jazz, as well as restless, influential and difficult-to-categorize innovators like Earl Hines, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus. Grades will be based on class participation, listening quizzes, and written assignments including brief research projects (such as examining the career of a noteworthy musician) and analyses of both written and live music.

Noah Baerman (B.Mus., M.M. Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University) is director of the Wesleyan jazz ensemble. He is also a jazz pianist who has recently released his fifth album, "Bliss." His best-known release is "Patch Kit," a trio album with Ben Riley and longtime Miles Davis associate Ron Carter. In March 2005 he was featured as a guest on the public radio program Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. Alfred Publishing Company has released nine instructional books by Noah, most recently the Versatile Keyboardist, as well as a DVD, Beginning Jazz Keyboard. He is also a recent recipient of the Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation "New Works" grant. Click here for more information about Noah Baerman.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

Register for Courses

Contact glsinquire@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. 
Copyright Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459