MUSI 212: History of Jazz Music

Spring 2003, schedule #43603
M W 2:00-3:15
101 OCH (Old Cabell Auditorium)

Prof. Scott DeVeaux

Office hours:
Monday 12-1
Thursday 2-3
208 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.

  • New! Ken Burns Jazz (5-CD anthology of jazz)

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)

Other CDs by members of the Freebridge Quintet (available at Plan 9 Records):

  • Robert Jospé/Inner Rhythm, Blue Blaze

  • Robert Jospé/Inner Rhythm, Playing for Time
  • 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, arranged on a more-or-less weekly basis. The listening assignments will be made from the required anthology of recordings (Ken Burns Jazz) and from sound files available on the web. The reading will be drawn from the required texts (McCalla, Jazz: A Listener's Guide, and the xeroxed anthology).

Because the assignments contain sound files, they are password protected. I will give you the proper password in class.

You should do the work by or during the week indicated on the assignment. Given the size of the class, and the finitude of web space, please do not expect to be able to do all of your listening within 24 hours of any examination! (Click here for some hard statistics about MUSI 212 web site use during the Fall of 2002.)

NOTE: some aspects of the web site will be changing during the semester. Some of the changes will involve assignments referring to Ken Burns Jazz, the 5-CD set now required for the class. Others will involve updates to the means by which the sound files are delivered. Please be patient and persistent in your search for information.

In-Class Attendance:

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.

I expect to start classes on time, at 2 p.m. By the same token, I expect all students to stay attentively in class until it ends at 3:15 p.m.

Note: students with cell phones should turn them off before entering class.


The course may be taken for a grade or for CR/NC. The deadline to choose the grading option is January 31. A grade of "D" or better is required for Credit under the CR/NC option. For more information, see the portion of the web site devoted to grading options.

Course Requirements:


  • MIDTERM I: Monday, 24 February (NOTE: this is a change from the original date of Wednesday 19 February), 20% of grade

  • MIDTERM II: Wednesday 26 March, 30% of grade

  • FINAL: Friday, May 2, 2 p.m., 45% of grade

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

Concert Reports, 5% of grade

  • Report #1: due Friday, 28 February

  • Report #2 (and extra credit report): due Monday, 28 April

Course Outline:

Listening Orientation

15 January: Introduction; Basic Musical Concepts

20 January: Basic Musical Concepts
22 January: "

27 January: Form and Improvisation
29 January: Freebridge Quintet, lecture/demonstration

Wednesday, 29 January: Drop deadline.

Friday, 31 January: Add deadline.
Last day to change to or from the "Credit/No Credit" option.
Last day to elect the AU (Audit) option.

3 February: Form and Improvisation

Historical Survey

Early Jazz:

5 February: Historical background to jazz

10 February: New Orleans Jazz
12 February: Louis Armstrong

17 February: ***SNOW DAY***
19 Feburary: Jazz in the 1920s

The Swing Era:

24 February: MIDTERM I

26 Feburary: Swing Bands: an introduction

3-5 March: no class--spring break

10 March: Duke Ellington

12 March: Kansas City Swing

17 March: Swing Era soloists

Modern Jazz to 1960:

19 March: Bebop (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie)

24 March: Thelonious Monk
26 March: MIDTERM II

31 March: Cool Jazz
2 April: Hard Bop

7 April: Miles Davis in the 1950s

Jazz since 1960:

9 April: Mingus, Coltrane

14 April: Miles Davis in the 1960s
16 April: The Jazz Avant-Garde

21 April: Jazz-pop fusion
23 April: Historicist jazz

28 April: Summing up (jazz in the 21st century)

Friday, May 2, 2 p.m.
(Old Cabell Hall Auditorium, OCH 101)