This is a work in progress. At the moment this serves to host training videos created specifically for PSU Inner Dimensions and jazz combo students while in corona proximity distancing mode.











Maria, in a wonderfully expressive testament yesterday, made me aware of an intense interest in listening to jazz yet not knowing quite what to choose. Thanks to Spotify's endless lists, there's ample dancing down memory lane, from yesterday's discoveries all the way back to junior year in high school! Endless thanks to Mr. Morrow and Mr. Jacober for hooking me up!


This list will continue to grow:







I have long thought there could be meaningful enhancements to the content I've put together for the 30-40 instances of teaching jazz history to non-majors at Susquehanna and Towson Universities. Now, thanks to what seems like a budding interest from Inner Dimensions (one of many wonderful Penn State big bands), I will begin drafts of new content.








Jazz was born around 1900. The first known recording, first on the playlist here, was made in 1917. The explosion of popularity in the years to come would include public affection for rather diverse kinds of jazz, ranging from radically creative approaches as found in some of the music of Duke Ellington, to commercially driven variations of dance forms like the Artie Shaw Orchestra’s style the Swing Era.

This is far from complete overview of the first half of the history of this music, first assembled for non-majors to have initial exposure:





Let's move to the middle. 1959. Listen:






Jazz History for Music Majors



The Jaki Byard Experience


The first tune, Parisian Thoroughfare, is so progressive and absolute in its insistence to fit the jazz mentality of being progressive and willing to take risk. To really understand this first listen to the the original recording (made by the composer playing solo piano) recording of this tune, from 1951:


And then three years later, a recording made by arguably one of the most progressive voices in ensemble playing at the time, the band led by Max Roach, featuring the very young but very well-practiced and mature Clifford Brown:


What do we hear here?

Max arranges the melody with fantastically ferocious double time drumset playing that then settles to the true tempo at half speed for later phrases of the melody and for solos. But hairs were raised from the outset thanks to Max’s energy. Hear Here!


Modernists of today get this project. The leader is a radical, in his day here on 9/18/1968, and has chosen to surround himself with other radicals. Richard Davis with Sarah Vaughan (and others) shows us a power in creative yet supportive bass playing that few have matched. Roland Kirk and Alan Dawson too…playing unlike anyone else before them. Have you heard of The Ritual by the way? All my best buds from New England learned it, from Alan himself…folks like Les Harris Jr. and Bob Gullotti. It’s a steady stream of drumset fundamentals that are arranged in a beautiful butt-kick progression of learning.





















Rhythm Meter Workshop

Practice along with the lessons below to expand your rhythm and meter skills as a performer or composer. Contact us for free pdfs, curricula, and access to over forty additional videos.

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