MUSI 212: History of Jazz Music

Fall 2001, schedule #90045
T Th 12:30-1:45
101 OCH (Old Cabell Auditorium)

Prof. Matthew Butterfield

Office hours: Mondays, 3-5, Tuesdays 2-3:30
203 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:

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

Required at Brillig Books (7 Elliewood Ave.):

  • Course reader, containing xeroxed articles

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

  • DeVeaux, The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History

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

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 in preparation for the day 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 September 14. A grade of "D" or better is required for Credit under the CR/NC option.

Course Requirements:


There will be two midterm examinations and a final examination. All students are required to take all three examinations. The date of each exam is given below, as well as its relative weight in your final grade:

  • MIDTERM I: Thursday, September 27, 20% of grade

  • MIDTERM II: Tuesday, November 6, 30% of grade

  • FINAL: Thursday, December 13, 2001, 2:00-5:00 p.m., 40% of grade

NOTE: The date and time of the final cannot be changed.

Pop Quizzes:

There will be two pop quizzes on the listening assignments, worth 5% of the final grade.  

Concert Reports, 5% of grade

  • Report #1: due Friday, October 12

  • Report #2: due Friday, December 7

Course Outline:

I. Musical Orientation:

August 30: Welcome and Introduction

September 4: Basic Musical Concepts
September 6: Form and Improvisation

September 11: Form and Improvisation

Wednesday, September 12: Drop deadline

II. Early Jazz

September 13: Historical Background to New Orleans Jazz

Friday, September 14: Add deadline.
Last day to elect the AU (Audit) option.
Last day to change to or from the "Credit/No Credit" option.

September 18: New Orleans Jazz
September 20: Jazz in the 1920s

September 25: Louis Armstrong

III. The Swing Era

October 2: Swing Bands
October 4: Duke Ellington

October 9: Kansas City Swing
October 11: Swing Era Soloists I

October 16: NO CLASS
October 18: Swing Era Soloists II

IV. Modern Jazz to 1960

October 23: Bebop

Wednesday, October 24: Last day to withdraw from the course

October 25: Thelonious Monk

October 30: Cool Jazz
November 1: Hard Bop

November 8: Miles Davis in the 1950s

November 13: John Coltrane
November 15: Charles Mingus

V. Jazz Since 1960

November 20: The Jazz Avant-garde
November 22: NO CLASS

November 27: Miles Davis in the 1960s
November 29: Fusion

December 4: "Neoclassicist" (or historicist) Jazz
December 6: Modern Jazz Piano; Summing up: Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea

December 13: FINAL EXAMINATION, 2:00-5:00 P.M.