MUSI 212: History of Jazz Music

Fall 2000, schedule #60044
M W 2:00-3:15
101 OCH (Old Cabell Auditorium)

Prof. Scott DeVeaux

Office hours:
Monday 10-11, Thursday 11-12
201 Old Cabell

General Outline:

The first part of the class consists of a Listening Orientation in which basic musical concepts, as well as the special listening skills needed for the study and appreciation of jazz, will be explained and discussed.

The remainder of the course is a historical survey, proceeding chronologically from the origins of jazz at the beginning of the century to the present. Emphasis will be placed on important performers (and associated stylistic schools) and their musical achievements. Social and cultural issues will be discussed wherever relevant.

This course assumes no previous musical knowledge or experience.

This course satisfies the College of Arts and Sciences Area Requirements for "Fine Arts" and "Non-Western Perspectives."


Required at Newcomb Hall Bookstore:

  • The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, revised ed. (recorded anthology of CDs)

  • James McCalla: Jazz: A Listener's Guide, 3rd ed.

Recommended (i.e., optional) at Newcomb Hall Bookstore:

  • DeVeaux, The Birth of Bebop

  • Freebridge Quintet, Spanning Time (CD) (John D'earth, trumpet; Jeff Decker, tenor sax; Bob Hallahan, piano; Peter Spaar, bass; Robert Jospé, drums)

Other CDs by members of the Freebridge Quintet available in the bookstore:

  • Robert Jospé/Inner Rhythm, Blue Blaze

  • Jeff Decker, I'll Know

  • John D'earth, Thursday Night: Live at Miller's

Weekly Assignments:

The required reading and listening for the course is divided up into assignments. The reading will be drawn from the required texts. The listening assignments will be made from the required anthology of recordings and from sound files available on the web. You should do the work by or during the week indicated on the assignment.


A significant amount of the course material will be covered only in the classroom. You are responsible for obtaining this material through regular classroom attendance. The instructor reserves the right to consider attendance as a factor in the final grading.


The course may be taken for a grade or for CR/NC. The deadline to choose the grading option is 15 September. A grade of "D" or better is required for Credit under the CR/NC option.

Course Requirements:


  • MIDTERM I: Wednesday 11 October, 20% of grade

  • MIDTERM II: Wednesday 8 November, 30% of grade

  • FINAL: Monday, 18 December, 2 p.m., 45% of grade

Concert Reports, 5% of grade

  • Report #1: due Friday, 20 October

  • Report #2 (and extra credit report): due Friday, 8 December

Course Outline:

I. Listening Orientation:

  • Week of 4 September: Basic Musical Concepts

  • Week of 11 September: Form and Improvisation
    Drop deadline: 13 September; Add deadline: 15 September

  • Week of 18 September: Form and Improvisation
    No class Monday, 18 September

Historical Survey:

II. Early jazz:

  • Week of 25 September: Historical background to jazz; New Orleans style.

  • Week of 2 October: Jazz in the 1920s; Louis Armstrong

III. The Swing Era:

  • Week of 9 October: Swing Bands
    MIDTERM I: Wednesday, 11 October

  • Week of 16 October: Duke Ellington; Kansas City Swing.

  • Week of 23 October: Swing Era Soloists
    No class Monday 23 October (Reading Holiday)
    NOTE: Withdraw deadline: 25 October

IV. Modern Jazz to 1960:

  • Week of 30 October: Bebop; Thelonious Monk

  • Week of 6 November: Cool jazz
    MIDTERM II: Wednesday, 8 November

  • Week of 13 November: Hard Bop; Miles Davis (1950s).

  • Week of 20 November: John Coltrane; Charles Mingus
    No class Wednesday 22 November (Thanksgiving Recess)

V. Jazz since 1960:

  • Week of 27 November: Avant-garde Jazz; Miles Davis (1960s); Fusion

  • Week of 4 December: "Historicist" Jazz; Summing Up (Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea)

FINAL: Monday, 18 December, 2 p.m.