This course explores the history of jazz from its roots to the present day, with special attention paid to the ways in which jazz has drawn from and influenced music of the African Diaspora, including Cuba, Brazil, Panama, and Peru. The course begins with an investigation into African and African American musical precursors, including spirituals, work and play songs, minstrel traditions, ragtime and the blues. It continues by exploring the emergence of jazz in New Orleans, Chicago, Kansas City, and New York City, as well as the exportation of jazz to locales around the world. Special attention will be paid to jazz artists and practices in Africa, Cuba, Brazil, Panama, and Peru. In addition to a survey of the most important performers and their associated styles and techniques (e.g., swing, bebop, cool, modal, avant-garde, jazz-rock fusion, etc.), this course explores the often provocative role jazz music has played in American and global society, and the diverse perceptions and arguments that have surrounded its production and reception.
Field WorkCountry: Spain
Day: 1 - Monday, 3 October
This Field Class will involve a visit to the Taller de Músics in Barcelona. We will tour the Escuela de Musica to see their facilities and teaching approach first hand. The school is home to La Original Jazz Orquestra (OJO), a professional training orchestra for student musicians to hone their skills in performance, improvisation, and composition. David Pastor, a celebrated jazz trumpeter and the director of OJO, will be our guide. He will introduce us to the student musicians, explain the relationship that the orchestra has with celebrated Spanish jazz composers, and demonstrate how he rehearses the ensemble. Experimental improvisor and percussionist Luis Tabuenca will also be on hand to provide an example of more avant-garde approaches to improvisation and to guide our students through an improvising workshop. Finally, the JazzSí Club is located in the same area as the Taller de Músics, and we will go there to experience a jazz jam session first hand. This offers a wonderful opportunity to experience how jazz musicians put together complete performances, full of improvisation and interaction, in a smaller, less formal club setting. Learning objectives:
- Learn how jazz is being taught in Barcelona and experience first hand how performers and educators navigate, absorb, and extend jazz traditions in a new cultural context
- Explore the intricacies of musical improvisation and interaction and gain some experience improvising with seasoned artists and fellow students
- See how a jazz performance is created, from composition, to rehearsal, to concert, and how unspoken conventions can help to structure less formal jazz jam sessions