MUS 325: The History of Jazz

Winter 2015

If you’re a jazz fan—or would like to become one—The History of Jazz is the course for you!

This intensive and exciting course will introduce students to the fundamentals of jazz and related music (e.g. blues, ragtime, jazz manouche, Western swing) from the late 19th century to the present day. We’ll be studying not only the African American experience as it relates to the evolution of jazz but also undertaking a survey of the stylistic, theoretical and historical elements of jazz. From there, we’ll do an analysis of influential jazz composers and jazz performers—presented within the context of various cultural and arts movements—which occurred in the Africa, Europe, and the United States.

The History of Jazz also involves aural analysis of musical performances and influential compositions from each of the primary jazz styles or periods, in particular how improvisation is treated in different eras.

A major emphasis in this course is intensive listening to notable jazz recordings in various styles. Students will be exposed to:

  • Miles Davis ‘Kind of Blue’ and Modal Jazz
  • Early Jazz: Combo Jazz Prior to the Middle 1930s
  • Big Bands, Western Swing and music of World War II
  • Duke Ellington and Count Basie
  • Bebop and Post War Small Group Jazz
  • 1960s and 1970s Avant-Garde and Free Jazz
  • Jazz in Canada

About the Instructor
Newfoundland trumpeter Dr. Patrick Boyle embodies the jazz spirit by synthesizing a range of influences into a compelling original voice. He has been aptly referred to as a “trumpet personality” and “one of Canada’s top trumpet players and jazz musicians in general” by CBC Radio.
An in-demand session player not bound by genre, Patrick can be heard on more than 40 recordings and two critically acclaimed solo albums: "Still No Word" (2008) and "Hold Out" (2005). He has composed music for film, television, radio, theatre and regularly creates original live soundtracks for silent films and video games. 




Ed Bickert
Canadian jazz guitar legend


Miles Davis


Billie Holiday