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Jazz from the Swing Era to the Avant-Garde

Course Times & Enrolment

Tuesdays from 16th January 2024 (Code MU031-201) Tuesdays from
16th January 2024 4:10pm - 6:00pm • (10 classes)
M14 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Dick Lee B Mus
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

"It doesn't mean a thing if it ain't got swing" Enjoy the classic swing jazz of Goodman, Basie and others as well as discovering the 50s New Orleans revival in Britain and the exciting innovations of Davis, Monk and Mingus.

Course Details

Content of Course

1. Basic ideas in jazz form 1930s – 1970ss: harmony, melody, rhythm, form, timbre.

2. The masters of swing: Goodman and Bassie.

3. The masters of the big bands: The Dorseys, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman.

4. The revival of the New Orleans style in the USA and the UK.

5. Ellington and the development of the symphonic jazz suite.

6. 1950s developments and experiments: Davis, Monk and Mingus.

7. 1960s and free Jazz: Coleman and Ayler.

8. 1970s jazz and synthesis with other music in the UK and USA.

9. New jazz directions towards the 1980s.

10. Jazz trends today.

Teaching method(s)

The course will meet once a week, and will consist of lectures, seminar and discussion. There will also be recordings and live demonstrations of certain techniques.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students should be able to understand:

  • The basic elements of Jazz 1930s – 1970s;

  • The swing era;

  • The main big bands;

  • The revival of the New Orleans style;

  • 1950’s developments and experiments;

  • 1960s and free jazz;

  • 1970s jazz and syntheses with other music.


Core Readings

  • Schuller G (1989) The Swing Era Oxford. Oxford University Press.

  • Williams M (1980) The Art of Jazz. New York Da Capo.

  • Burns K (2001) Jazz. Middlesex Jazz film project


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.