hey gang. i'm randomly announcing that i'm going to write my junior independant study (any wooster grads/students here?) on jazz's role as both popular and art music respectively throughout the century.  

it would cover such topics as: jazz at the dawn of recording and the influence of the recording industry, jazz's popularity during the swing era and comparision of influential orchestras and bandleaders, appropriation of jazz elements by popular composers such as gershwin, the influence of duke ellington and billy strayhorn, bebop and the transformation of jazz into performer's music, jazz musicians making the transition to popular music including nat king cole and ray charles, ornette coleman's free jazz further alienating the listener, miles davis's fusion and herbie hancock's explorations in popular funk, jazz musicians in r&b, miles davis's popular 80's revival with time after time, "smooth jazz", miles final album doo-bop and the incorperation of hip hop, wynton marsalis renewing interest in jazz for a mainstream audience.  (and lots of stuff in between.)

would you guys be interested in reading some exerpts as they are written?  

There are 3 comments, leave a comment.
winton marsalis' pbs series "jazz" spends 10 episodes (many of them longer than two hours) to explore exactly what you describe.  

this tv series is not the only work to trace the history of jazz, and it's influence on culture worldwide. this is a huge undertaking.

you might want to whittle it down by focussing on just one era or just one aspect.

also rather than simply reinventing the wheel, i hope you will have a fresh approach that adds to the subject instead of just rehashing the same old viewpoints.

and yes, i'd love to read the exceprts as they come out.
hey 7.  first off, because of the limited scope allowed for this study (the large scope study will be my senior thesis) i'll only be able to pack a limited amount of originality into it.  i'll probably have to wittle it down quite a bit. i think i'm going to focus on the period covering swing to bebop if i had to choose.  there's a lot that went on in that span of time, and it doesn't hurt that jazz probably reached it's popular zenith during then either.  i.e.

-the commerciality of benny goodman versus the pioneering of elligton
-visionaries such as bird and diz getting their starts in "popular" bands (jay mcshann and cab calloway respectively) and their eventual creation of bebop.
-broadway composers like gershwin taking jazz harmonies and rhythms and writing classical "concert-jazz" and shows.
-racial differences and conflicts (the different clubs and their styles, white leaders like paul whiteman, glen miller, tommy dorsey, benny goodman and others versus ellington, basie, fletcher henderson, cab calloway and many others.

that's just scratching the surface...so if it comes down to it (which it probably will, i'd cover that period.  and i hope to focus on lots of "why's" rather than "these are key figures in jazz, and man, were they great."
one thing i've thought of, in relation to jazz and recordings, is that records may be responsible for the emergence of jazz as an improvisational art form.  i think that without recordings, there would have been a tendency to treat jazz like ragtime and write everything down.

i know that ragtime was also improvised, but it was composers of written-out arrangements that were regarded as the masters of the art.  i believe the same would have happened with jazz without recordings.
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