What is Jazz?  …
origins and definitions

… a musical style, a repertoire and a way of life

 Basic Questions to be addressed: 


When:  Late 1800’s  1st jazz recording 1917  Original Dixieland Jazz Band 

Where:  New Orleans


Who & What?   

a.  African music

b.  Ragtime

c.  Gospel & Spirituals

d.  Brass Bands & American Marches

e.  Hymn tunes & other European music 

f.   American Popular Songs (like Stephen Foster)

G. Latin music 

H.  Afro-Cuban music  (African & Brazilian/ South American cultures mixed) 

I.   Blues 

J.  Mistrel Shows/ music 


Jelly Roll Morton “Tiger Rag”  


How did jazz come about?  

a.  party atmosphere

b.  diverse cultures

c.  need for dance and entertainment music 

d.  (very) long parades 


Original Dixeland Jazz Band
 “Original Dixieland One Step” 


What separates jazz from other music? 

a.  swing -  (swing vs. straight 8th notes) - “triplet feel” 

b.  blues notes and other accents and articulations  (demonstration) 

c.  extended solo improvisations and collective improvisation 

d.  the ability to assimilate and transform other styles. - limitless 

e.  self expression- encouraged! 

How do jazz musicians learn?

a.  practicing and studying their instrument

b.  imitation (not a bad thing here!)  

c.  new era of jazz books & play-along recordings +

d.  online teaching + 

e.  the traditional methods- learning “by ear” & mentoring 

f.   transcribing solos and learning them 




How is jazz performed?


a.  the role of the instruments:

— where the pulse comes from (bass & drums)

— chord instruments & “comping”  

— who plays the melody? 

b.  the importance of improvisation 

— solo & 

— collective improv. by the rhythm section) 

c.  the role of form


Basic 12 Bar Blues  “Blues For Maria” (demonstration)

32 bar standard form  AABA  “Take the A Train” (demonstration) 


What are some different styles of jazz & How do they differ from basic swing?  
(demonstration)  "Girl From Ipanema"


a.  Latin (straight 8ths)

— bossa nova 

— samba

— + plus all the various Latin dance styles like mambo, & rhumba, salsa etc. 


b.  Rock, Soul, Funk + R. & B. (straight 8ths)


Basic Outline of Jazz History


Another view w/ pop up summaries

Further Study:

Mark Gridley-
"Jazz Styles History & Analysis"

Charles Mingus

"Beneath the Underdog"

Dexter Gordon

"Sophisticated Giant" (book)

and the movie  "'Round Midnight"

Billy Strayhorn

"Lush Life" 

Duke Ellington

"Music Is My Mistress"

Duke Ellington

"Music Is My Mistress"

Charlie Parker

"Bird Lives"
book & movie

Selections for Part One

Warm up and Intro.
“Freddie the Freeloader”

Swing & Rhythm Section Concepts
“Blues for Maria”

AABA form
“Take The A Train”

Latin styles
“Girl From Ipanema”  bossa
“Freddie”  w/ double time samba feel

Funk- & straight 8th styles
“Blues for Maria”  … funky

Selections for Part Two
Jazz Set

1.  “On A Misty Night”
2.  “What is this thing called Love”
3.  “Black Orpheus”
4.  “One Note Samba”
5.  “Stella By Starlight”
6.  “Big River Bossa”
7.  “Dewey Square”
8.  “Blues for Erin”
9.  “In Walked Bud”  

(all subject to change!)