Jazz has come a long way since the daring sounds of turn of the twentieth century New Orleans. A casual glance through a magazine jazz review section, the shelves of a record store, or the programming of a jazz festival will illustrate just how diverse the music has become. This can be understood as a function of chronology, i.e. historical development, but it can also be understood as a function of place.
When the spread of any culture is considered, especially internationally, it can be discussed with reference to the idea of diaspora. The word diaspora is from the Greek meaning ‘scattering or sowing of seeds’ and an early usage can be found in the Septuagint (the oldest Greek version of the Jewish Bible) referring to Jews living dispersed among Gentiles. It now has a more general usage and has come to mean the movement of any people sharing a common ethnic identity, whether they were forced to leave or left voluntarily.
In the same way that a concept originally limited to the movement of Jews has been co-opted to explore and inform intellectual arguments regarding the movements of peoples more generally, the ideas and models thus arrived at can further be adapted to frame the study of the culture of those people. We can therefore think about a jazz diaspora.
This project will consider various key movements in jazz from around the world, including the UK, Scandinavia, Chile, Europe, and South Africa. Harmonic and rhythmic theories developed to explain modern jazz will be explored and the project will also introduce the techniques of jazz transcription.
Guidance will be given, but students should listen widely to jazz from all periods and regions, but paying specific attention to the following:
By the end of the taught part of the project all students should:
On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-7, A9, and A12.