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What is Jazz


1. National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA

2. For information on ordering The Instrumental History of Jazz 2-CD set, click here.

3. Student handouts can be downloaded from the Jazz in America website and photocopied.

4. Any material on the Jazz in America website may be made into a transparency as the instructor sees fit.

jazz images 1

Gerry Mulligan

jazz images 2

Kenny Dorham

jazz images 3

Billie Holiday

jazz images 4

Anthony Braxton

jazz images 5



  1. Course Introduction
  2. What is Jazz
  3. Jazz Recordings

National Standards for United States History (Grades 7-8)1

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources, including...folk, popular, and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative (Historical Comprehension Standard 2i).
  2. draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues (Historical Analysis and Interpretation 3d).
  3. hypothesize the influence of the past (Historical Analysis and Interpretation 3j).

Historical Content
Students should be able to:
  • analyze how Africans in North America drew upon their African past and upon selected European (and sometimes Indian) customs and values to develop a distinctive African American culture and the student is able to analyze overt and passive resistance to enslavement (Era 2: Colonization and Settlement Standard 3c).

The student will:
  1. gain a fundamental understanding of jazz
  2. gain a basic understanding of why jazz is included in the study of American history/social studies
  3. listen to portions of several recordings from The Instrumental History of Jazz and/or the web site

  1. computer logged onto www.jazzinamerica.org
  2. LCD projector and screen
  3. CD player (optional)

  1. The Instrumental History of Jazz (IHJ) – optional
    1. two CDs
    2. accompanying booklet
  2. Student Handouts3 (one per student)

The instructor will:
  1. distribute student handouts
  2. introduce the course and its requirements
  3. discuss the basics of jazz
  4. play six diverse jazz recordings (30-90 seconds each), discussing with the students what they heard

The students will:
  1. participate in a class discussion on "what is jazz"
  2. listen to jazz recordings

Test Bank
  1. Multiple Choice Test
  2. Essay/Discussion Questions at the Teacher’s Discretion

the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
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