Week 1: The Trumpet
The course opens with an exploration of the cerebral spirit of jazz. The great trumpeters can reach inspiring heights particularly in the horns of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Bix Beiderbecke, Roya Eldridge, Maynard Ferguson, Miles Davis, and Wynton Marsalis. Its otherworldly beauty is even evoked in the Bible.
Week 2: The Guitar from Charlie Christian to Pat Metheny
Originally considered strictly a rhythm instrument fleet fingered soloists like Charlie Christian showed that it could be much more. Stars like Les Paul, Barney Kessel, and Joe Pass kept the faith. Today it is probably the most popular instrument in jazz finding favour with an audience raised on the rock guitar and dazzled by the potential of the electrified instrument.
Week 3: Blues, Latin, and Fusion
As the definition of jazz expands, it turns out there’ s room for everybody. The blues hurt so good. Latin features a new sound lead by different rhythms often being more important than the melody. Fusion appeals to a younger audience that likes an electronic sound anchored by rock rhythms and taken in new directions by jazz stars.
Week 4: Stars of the Trombone, Violin, Vibes, Drums, and Bass
The names say it all: Jack Teagarden, J. J. Johnson, Joe Venuti, Stephane Grappelli, Lionel Hampton, Art Blakey, Ray Brown, and Charlie Haden. Musicians without enough talent and leadership to lead their own groups from their chosen instruments.
Week 5: Song Stylists
The most personal instrument in jazz is the human voice. Distinctive singers like Cliff Edwards, Ethel Waters, Lee Wiley, Bessie Smith, Shirley Horn, Tony Bennett, Johnny Hartman, Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, and Carmen McRae all had instantly recognizable and unique approaches to delivering a lyric, which we'll explore in this session.
Week 6: Current Stars
With the death of most of the jazz greats, the field opens wide for a new generation. It's a particular challenge in a world of changing technology, problematic venues, and unreliable compensation, but jazz still finds an audience. Names like Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, Jessica Williams, and Norah Jones enliven the world's concert stages.