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Jazz in American Culture: A History

From the revolutionary virtuosity of bebop to the impressionistic polish of cool jazz, jazz music has been both an integral reflection of and critical driving force in the currents of America’s cultural history. Fusing independence and cooperation, individualism and collectivism, jazz has consistently represented both the vitality and moral contradictions of the United States, while providing crucial opportunities for interaction with the rest of the world. Within the patterns of jazz, listeners can hear the fabric of the nation. From slavery and Jim Crow to the roaring ’20s and the turbulent ’60s, from the blues and Dixieland to big band and bebop, jazz communicates the energy, spirit, and creativity of America. Gain new insight into beloved artists and discover lesser-known greats. Some of the many artists we will cover include Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Lester Young, George Gershwin, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Frank Sinatra, and Wynton Marsalis.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • An understanding of the legacy of jazz in America
  • Familiarity with all genres of jazz performers and composers

Ideal for

  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in-between
  • The curious and creative
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.