MUSI 212: History of Jazz Music

Spring 2002, schedule #13671
T Th 12:30-1:45
101 OCH (Old Cabell Auditorium)

Prof. Matthew Butterfield

Office hours: Mondays, 10-12, Tuesdays 2-4
202 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 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 February 1. 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, February 14, 20% of grade

  • MIDTERM II: Thursday, April 4, 30% of grade

  • FINAL: Saturday, May 4, 2001, 2:00-5:00 p.m., 40% of grade

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

Concert Reports, 10% of grade

  • Report #1: due Friday, March 1

  • Report #2: due Friday, April 26

Course Outline:

I. Musical Orientation:

January 17: Welcome and Introduction

January 22: Basic Musical Concepts
January 24: Forms

January 29: Historical Background to New Orleans Jazz

Wednesday, January 30: Drop deadline

II. Early Jazz

January 31: New Orleans Jazz

Friday, Feburary 1: Add deadline.
Last day to elect the AU (Audit) option.
Last day to change to or from the "Credit/No Credit" option.

February 5: Jazz in the 1920s
February 7: Louis Armstrong

February 12: Guest performance: The Free Bridge Quintet

III. The Swing Era

Februay 19: Swing Bands
February 21: Duke Ellington

February 26: Kansas City Swing
February 28: Swing Era Soloists I

Friday, March 1: Concert Report #1 Due

March 5: Guest performance: Stephanie Nakasian and Hod O'Brien

IV. Modern Jazz to 1960

March 7: Bebop I

March 9-March 17: SPRING RECESS

March 19: Bebop II

Wednesday, March 20: Last day to withdraw from the course

March 21: Thelonious Monk

March 26: Cool Jazz
March 28: Hard Bop

April 2: Miles Davis in the 1950s

V. Jazz Since 1960

April 9: Charles Mingus
April 11: John Coltrane

April 16: The Jazz Avant-garde
April 18: Miles Davis in the 1960s

April 23: Fusion and Smooth Jazz
April 25: "Neoclassicist" (or historicist) Jazz

Friday, April 26: Concert Report #2 Due
Last Day to Request Change in Exam Schedule

April 30: Recent Currents in Jazz

May 4: FINAL EXAMINATION, 2:00-5:00 P.M.