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Arts and Humanities

Richard Davis on Jazz

History, elements, and social context of jazz
Grade Levels:
60 minutes
Taping Rights:
Teaching Materials:
See Below
Program Schedule and Streaming Links:
See Below

This series introduces students and teachers to the elements of jazz, its history and pioneers, its instruments, and its contribution to American life and culture. The host is Richard Davis, a mainstay of the New York jazz scene and a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Davis intersperses lecture segments with questions from the KET viewing audience, samples of work by jazz masters, and demonstrations of key jazz elements on his string bass. In addition to music, each program in the series addresses topics in social studies, humanities, and African-American studies.

The first four programs in this series aired as live teleconferences during the 1997/98 school year.

Program of Studies:
Music: Structure in the Arts, Humanity in the Arts, Purposes for Creating the Arts, Processes in the Arts, Interrelationships Among the Arts

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2012/13 Program Schedule

101. Elements of Jazz and Jazz History
Davis presents an overview of key elements of jazz, including beat, tempo, meter, rhythm, improvisation, and the basic 32-bar song format, followed by a quick tour of the rich history of jazz.
102. Jazz Pioneers
Davis traces the early years of jazz from its birth with Buddy Bolden through the genius of Thelonious Monk, showcasing samples from the music of more than 20 artists. He explains the social/cultural influences that shaped jazz artists and their music while teaching how to listen to the music to appreciate each musician's unique contribution.
103. Jazz Instruments: Saxophone and Trumpet
Davis highlights the importance of each of these instruments to the jazz sound by demonstrating how various techniques evolved through the work of several artists. He discusses the history of the saxophone and its emergence as a prominent jazz instrument and shares rare recordings from his own collection. He discusses the jazz trumpet sound from Louis Armstrong to Wynton Marsalis, playing examples of how the sound evolved.
104. Jazz and Social Protest Movements
Davis examines how jazz has been an integral component of social protest throughout the 20th century and shows an excerpt from the documentary film Jazz in Exile. The film contains performances by some of the leading figures in jazz and explains why they're often more appreciated in Europe than in the United States.
105. Jazz and the Spiritual Experience
Davis performs with keyboardist Keith McCutcheon before an audience of teachers and students and demonstrates the relationship of jazz and blues to religion and culture. With full audience participation, he shows how to create, perform, and respond to jazz.
106. Jazz Instruments: Bass and Piano
Davis practices with the jazz band from Lexington's Lafayette High School, providing insight and encouragement to aspiring young musicians.

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Kentucky Academic Expectations

This program relates to the following Kentucky Academic Expectations.

Kentucky schools may tape and retain programs according to the rights listed above. For further information, contact the KET Education Division.

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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24-Aug-2016 03:18:19 Eastern Daylight Time