Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Jazz Pedagogy in the USA and in Europe

Department

Honors College

College

Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Disciplines

Education

Abstract

I am actually presenting twice at this conference: 1. Jazz Pedagogy in the USA and in Europe Jazz was invented in the United States, but quickly spread throughout the world. Jazz is quite popular in Europe, and many have claimed that the music has undergone significant stylistic changes which has resulted in a "European" school of jazz that is distinct from its American counterpart. As part of my Fulbright Award in 2013, I studied jazz pedagogy and jazz styles in Europe and in the United States. This study delves into the question of whether a "European Style" has actually formed, and if so, is it from a pedagogical as well as a stylistic perspective. The study relied on a survey of jazz musicians and jazz educators that was conducted before and during the Fulbright activities when I was teaching in Graz, Austria at the University of the Arts. I will present the results of this survey which look at the pedagogy and academic structures found in both continents, and also looks at the perceptions of jazz style and jazz pedagogy in both populations (i.e. musicians and educators in the USA and in Europe). 2. 52nd Street and the Second Viennese Jazz artists continuously push the harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic boundaries of the music which they compose and perform. This is accomplished in a variety of ways, from increasingly complex chord substitutions in standards, to the harmolodic explorations of Ornette Coleman, and the atonal excursions of Jaki Byard and Albert Ayler. This constant quest for new materials is a defining feature of jazz, and jazz musicians have been particularly open to incorporating the myriad styles and techniques found around the world in various cultures and eras. Many famous artists, including John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Henry Threadgill, Bill Evans, Peter Erskine, and Anthony Braxton, have adopted (and adapted) the serial techniques of Arnold Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School in their compositions, and indeed, some classical composers (like Milton Babbitt and his All Set from the famous 1957 Brandeis concert featured alongside pieces from Charles Mingus, George Russell, and third stream composer Gunther Schuller) have been inspired to write for jazz ensemble using serial techniques. Given its significant pedagogical potential and its intriguing stylistic cross-pollination, the interest in this technique continues to the present day. This presentation will illustrate the unique ways in which a wide variety of jazz artists from various eras have incorporated this strict compositional technique into jazz in a free and organic manner, often without any overt aural cues of the theoretical underpinnings of the compositions. The ways in which this technique is used are compelling from many perspectives theoretical, historical, and pedagogical.

Conference Name

2015 IASJ Meeting

Conference Location

Lisbon, Portugal

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