Summer 2007

ARTS 615
Jazz Cross-Pollination: The Impact of Jazz on other Styles of Music and Vice Versa


06/25/2007 - 08/03/2007
Monday & Wednesday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Throughout its history, jazz has evolved, not just through the work of innovative artists but also through the influence of other styles of music. Western classical music, R&B, blues, rock, and many types of ethnic music have all left their mark on jazz. In some instances, elements have been woven into the very fabric of jazz, while in other instances they have led to new hybrid styles. By the same token, jazz has had an influence on many other styles in ways that range from subtle to dramatic.

In this course we will study examples of musical cross-pollination involving jazz and examine the ways in which it occurs. We will hear music by a diverse array of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Bessie Smith, Bela Bartok, Joni Mitchell, Tito Puente, Miles Davis, and the Grateful Dead. In the process, we will explore elements that define the differences between styles and those that provide common ground. The goal will be to combine an intellectual understanding of the cross-pollination phenomenon with an intuitive sense of it. The primary source material for this course will be sound recordings, with occasional video footage.

Grades will be based on class participation, several essays based on recordings (in some cases these recordings will be assigned, while in other cases students will choose recordings to analyze), an essay based on a live performance, and a research project that will culminate in both an essay and an oral presentation.

While musical training is not a prerequisite for this class, students should be comfortable with the idea of listening to music analytically. Having some prior exposure to jazz will be helpful, as will the ability to aurally distinguish instruments from one another (for example, hearing the difference between a saxophone and a trumpet).

There will be a two-day field trip to attend the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz on Friday, July 20 (in the evening) and Saturday, July 21. One of the regularly scheduled Mondays (exact date TBD) will also be a field trip to hear live jazz in Hartford.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

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:

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