Introduction to Jazz Studies


Columbia University

Anthropology, African-American Studies, and American Studies

Fall 2005


Regular attendance and full participation in the seminar, including a short presentation (15 minutes) in one session

Read the three assigned texts and the xeroxed readings

Write two short papers (3-5 pages)

1) comparing two histories OR two textbooks on jazz chosen from the list on pp. 320-321 of Jazz 101 or in consultation with the instructor

2) comparing two jazz biographies of different musicians OR two autobiographies OR one of each, chosen from the list on pp. 332-333 of Jazz 101 or in consultation with the instructor

Write a final paper of at least 15 pp. on a topic determined after consultation with the instructor


John Szwed, Jazz 101

Robert G. O'Meally, Brent Hayes Edwards, and Farah Jasmin Griffin, eds.,

Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies

David Ake, Jazz Cultures

Xeroxed reading packet


(Note: Readings that are not listed as being in Szwed, Ake or O'Meally, et al. are in the xeroxed readings)

Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: No class

Read: John Szwed, pp. xi-75

"Introductory Notes" in O'Meally et al, pp. 1-6

"Compendium: Jazz -- Formal Definitions (1913-99)" from Andrew Clark, Riffs & Choruses

Jed Rasula "The Jazz Audience," from The Cambridge Companion to Jazz (2002), pp.55-68

Clive Bell. "Plus de Jazz," New Republic, 28 (9/21/21), p. 92ff

Ernst-Alexandre Ansemet. "Bechet and Jazz Visit Europe" (1919)

Roger Pryor Dodge. "Negro Jazz," (1929)

Jean-Paul Sartre. "I Discovered Jazz in America" (1947)

Ralph Ellison. "The Golden Age, Time Past"

Ron Welborn. "Ralph Ellison's Territorial Vantage"

Wynton Marsalis. "The Music of Democracy"

Richard Sudhalter. "A Racial Divide That Needn't Be"

Amiri Baraka. "Jazz Criticism and its Effect on the Art Form"

Stanley Crouch. "Jazz Criticism and Its Effect on the Art Form"

Week 3: What is Jazz? Definitions, Improvisation, Origins, Discography, Bibliography

David Sager "History, Myth and Legend: The Problem of Early Jazz" from The Cambridge Companion to Jazz (2002), pp. 270-285

Ingrid Monson "Jazz Improvisation" from The Cambridge Companion to Jazz (2002), pp.114-32

Vijay Iyer. "Exploding the Narrative in Jazz Improvisation" in O'Meally et al, pp. 393-403

Week 4: New Orleans (and Elsewhere)

Szwed, pp. 79-125

David Ake, "Blue Horizon: Creole Culture and Early New Orleans Jazz," pp. 10-41

The Swing Era

Szwed, pp. 126-154

David Stowe. "Understanding Swing" from Swing Changes (1994)

Week 5: Bebop

Szwed, pp. 155-174

Eric Lott. "Double V, Double-Time: Bebop's Politics of Style"

Jack Kerouac. "The Birth of Bebop"

Langston Hughes "Bop," (1961)

Dan Burley "Advanced Reading in Jive" (1944)

Mary Lou Williams and Milton Orent "In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee" (1949

Bernard Gendron. "'Moldy Figs' and Modernists: Jazz at War"

Cool Jazz and Hard Bop

Szwed, pp. 175-206

Anatole Broyard. "Keep Cool, Man: The Negro Rejection of Jazz"

David H. Rosenthal. "Jazz in the Ghetto: 1950-70"

Week 6: Third Stream /Free Jazz

Szwed, pp. 209-259

LeRoi Jones. "The Modern Scene." Blues People, NY, 1963, pp. 175-236

Art Lange. "Third Stream."

George Lewis. "Experimental Music in Black and White: The AACM in New York, 1970-1985" in O'Meally et al., pp. 50-101

Ronald M. Radano. "Critical Alchemy: Anthony Braxton and the Imagined Tradition."

Week 7: Fusion, Jazz-Rock, European Improvised Music, Punk Jazz, World Jazz, Psychedelic Jazz, Neo-Traditionalism, Downtown, Acid Jazz, etc.

Szwed, pp. 251-292

Stanley Crouch. "On the Corner: The Sellout of Miles Davis"

Peter Watrous. "Old Jazz is Out, New Jazz is Older"

Jackson Griffith. "Business Jazz Reconsidered"

Robin D.G. Kelley. "Beneath the Underground: Exploring New Currents in 'Jazz'," in O'Meally et al, pp. 404-420

Jazz Dance

Robert P. Crease "Jazz and Dance," from The Cambridge Companion to Jazz (2002), pp.69-80

John Szwed and Morton Marks. "The Afro-American Transformation of European Set Dances and Dance Suites"

Jacqui Malone. "Jazz Music in Motion: Dancers and Big Bands"

Week 8: Jazz Historiography

George Lipsitz. "Songs of the Unsung: The Darby Hicks History of Jazz" in O'Meally et al, pp. 9-26

David Ake. "Jazz Historiography and the Problem of Louis Jordan, pp. 42-61

David Ake. "Jazz Traditioning: Setting Standards at Century's End," pp. 146-176

Scottt DeVeaux. "Constructing the Jazz Tradition: Jazz Historiography," Black American Literature Forum, 25, 3 (Fall, 1991), pp. 525-31 (excerpt)


Week 9: Jazz Singing/Jazz Poetry

Szwed, pp. 293-299

Farah Jasmine Griffin. "When Malindy Sings: A Meditation of Black Women's Vocality," O'Meally et al, pp. 102-125

William J. Harris, "'How You Sound??' Amiri Baraka Writes Free Jazz," O'Meally et al, pp. 312-325

Travis Jackson. "'Always New and Centuries Old': Jazz, Poetry, and Tradition as Creative Adaptation," in O'Meally et al, pp. 357-373

Allen Ginsberg. "Howl"

John Hollander. Review of Howl and Other Poems

Alan Ginsberg. Letter to John Hollander (in Jane Kramer, Allen Ginsberg in America)

Week 10: The Jazz Life

John Szwed. "The Man," in O'Meally et al., 166-186

David Ake. "Regendering Jazz: Ornette Coleman and the New York Scene in the Late 1950s," pp. 62-82

David Ake. "Body and Soul: Performing Deep Jazz," pp. 83-111

Kevin Gaines. "Artistic Othering in Black Diaspora Musics: Preliminary Thoughts on Time, Culture, and Politics," in O'Meally, pp. 204-223

Penny M. Von Eschen "The Real Ambassadors," O'Meally, et al, pp. 189-203


Week 11: Jazz Photography, Art, and Advertising

Mona Hadler. "Jazz and the New York School."

Michael Jarrett. "The Tenor's Vehicle: Reading Way Out West"

Diedra Harris-Kelley. "Revisiting Romare Bearden's Art of Improvising," O'Meally et al, pp. 249-255

Jorge Daniel Veneciano. "Louis Armstrong, Bricolage, and the Aesthetics of Swing," in O'Meally et al, pp. 256-277

Jazz on Film

Szwed, pp. 314-317

Frederick Garber. "Fabulating Jazz"

Robert G. O'Meally, "Checking Our Balances: Louis Armstrong, Ralph Ellison, and Betty Boop" in O'Meally et al., pp. 278-296

Krin Gabbard. "Paris Blues: Ellington, Armstrong, and Saying It With Music," O'Meally et al., pp. 297-311

Week 12: Jazz Fiction

Jason Berry. "Jazz Literature"

Willie G. (Bunk) Johnson. "The Bunk Johnson Story"

John Szwed. "Josef Škvorecký and the Tradition of Jazz Literature"

Donald Barthelme "The King of Jazz" (1977)

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African American studies, American studies, anthropology, bibliographies, jazz 101, jazz history, jazz studies, syllabi