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Elments of Jazz - An Audio History Course

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Hi everyone,

I saw this course on sale at The Teaching Company and thought you guys might find it interesting. It's an 8-lecture audio course on jazz. It doesn't teach how to play jazz, it's just a history of jazz.

Here is the description of the 8th lecture:

"How can 10 musicians get together, have no idea what any of the others will play, start at the same time, and make wonderful music? This lecture explains how this is done. And, with our explanation, we discover that the musicians are perhaps not as free as they appear. Bill Messenger and friends demonstrate jazz improvisation on our sound stage."

You can find a description of the whole course here:

http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=728

It's on sale from $135 marked down to $20.

Here's the course content:

8 lecures @ 45 minutes each:

1. Plantation Beginnings

In this introductory lecture we discuss the birth of jazz: where and how it came into existence. This "distant" music has had profound effect on the music of today, and specifically on Mick Jagger. The lecture concludes with the origin of minstrel shows.

2. The Rise and Fall of Ragtime
The emergence of ragtime in the 1890s can be compared to the emergence of rock 'n' roll in the 1950s. Ragtime has many variations; it's not restricted to the piano. Are certain melodies prone to being "ragged"? America's greatest ragtime composer strenuously resisted the genre he would later come to love.

3. The Jazz Age
In general, jazz is syncopated music with more improvisation than there is in ragtime. Understand the difference between modern and traditional jazz. A technological advance made a huge impact on the development of jazz from its very beginnings.

4. Blues
We've all heard the blues, perhaps even hummed along. Ever wonder why it has such profound effect on its listeners? This vital style is at the core of all jazz performance. Whenever jazz becomes complex to the point of inaccessibility, jazz musicians inevitably return to the blues.

5. The Swing Era

Swing was for the youth of the Depression what jazz was for the previous generation and what ragtime was for the generation that preceded that one. In its time, swing seemed modern, rebellious, and tailored for a younger generation. In this genre, bands swing together as if they were one instrument, antiphonal section playing and arranged background riffs behind improvised solos.

6. Boogie, Big Band Blues, and Bop
We cover the distinctions between boogie-woogie and ragtime, and find out why each was commercialized to death. Also, see the relationship of early rock 'n' roll to boogie-woogie. Find out what effect electricity had on boogie-woogie. Following the chronological trend of this music, we look at 1940s modern jazz. With the emergence of bop, we see things get more complex.

7. Modern Jazz
During the 20th century, all the arts broke away from established rules to explore new territory. Modern jazz used extended chords and frequent chord changes, among other things. We discuss the "Cool School" of the early 1950s, modal jazz, free jazz, fusion, and funky jazz. Which of these schools was most influenced by rock?

8. The ABC's of Jazz Improvisation
How can 10 musicians get together, have no idea what any of the others will play, start at the same time, and make wonderful music? This lecture explains how this is done. And, with our explanation, we discover that the musicians are perhaps not as free as they appear. Bill Messenger and friends demonstrate jazz improvisation on our sound stage.

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I haven't listened to this course myself yet. But it sounds like a pretty interesting course.

Just thought I'd mention it in case anyone is interested.
 
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