Abstract: Jazz history unfolded chronologically, but chronology does not necessarily imply teleology or causality. In other words, the fact that certain jazz styles came after others does not unquestionably mean that jazz history followed a fixed course dictated by the perceived inevitability of artistic “progress.” Although it is important for jazz history students to have a foundational understanding of jazz history in a chronological fashion, presenting history on a straightforward, simplistic timeline defined by distinct style periods is not the only way to teach the music of the past. There may be significant merit in reorganizing the way jazz history is sometimes presented. Musicians, albums, and style movements could be grouped together and studied according to thematically broad abstract topics to stimulate student engagement, independent thinking, and impassioned discussion. Examples include organizing jazz history curricula into nonsequential subjects such as jazz and politics, jazz and gender, jazz and racial identity, jazz and economics, jazz and the government, jazz and authenticity, and jazz and technology.



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