[JPL] What I Learned In Jazz Class

Jazz Promo Services jazzpromo at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 12 09:44:38 EDT 2007

This is pretty long, but funny and pathetic at the same time.  I hope I'm
wrong, but some of the topics and references make me suspicious that these
comments could have come out of Jeff Rupert's classes at UCF, where I teach
part-time (Steve Turre was just there with his shells, etc.), although
probably many schools have similar overview classes.  Enjoy.

Richard Drexler
www.richarddrexler.com  (down but back online soon on a new web host)
permanent address  richard at richarddrexler.com
cell phone  USA  001.727.365.4581
PO Box 23121
Tampa FL 33623-3121  USA
(the lobster movie:)
"Richard the Lobster-Hearted"

You can listen to the first couple minutes of each tune on my CDs at
www.cdbaby.com by entering my name in the artist field.
(the crayfish gallery:)

What I Learned In Jazz Class

These are quotes from students in a college jazz history class. They
are extracted from the essay topic, "What I learned over this
semester in jazz history." These are all genuine responses,
completely unaltered. They are all 18+ year old students; not high
school or middle school age kids. None of them are music students;
they all took this class as a gen. ed. credit and a hopeful "easy A".

***"Free Jazz is an era that I wished I had never learned about.²

"Free Jazz. Wow; what a sound it makes. An awful, horrible sound. I
don¹t see how that can actually be called a sound.  My 5 year old
nephew could pound on the piano and make the same sound! He may even
make a better sound. To be honest, that sound is one big mess.²

"With swing, it¹s kind of up in the air for me. I must say I tried
like hell to keep up with it.²

***"My favorite jazz has a bluesy, Mexican feel to it.²

"Though Jazz started in New Orleans, it traveled all around the world
picking up and dropping off things along the way.²

***"One thing that confused me was Jelly Roll Morton. Did he play
with the Red Hot Chili Peppers? I didn¹t think that they were around
back then.²

"Jelly Roll (Morton) bridged the gap between piano and ragtime.²

"My grandpa likes it, but I think scat stinks.²

***"Chick Corea, Dizzie Gillespie, Bix Biderbeck, and the monk
created the first cool group.²

(!)"I wished Don Cherry would put his trumpet back in his pocket.²

"There is not enough space in my head to fit all that I learned.²

"This class taught me about a lot of things that I never knew about.²

"Some of the big jazz musicians we learned about were: Lous
Armstrong, Duke, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Cillespic, T. Mark, Ken Barns,
Buddy Baldwin, Jellyroll Mortin, Sydney Bichai, Fats Waller, Earl
Hines, and many many more.²

***"Coming into class on the first day, I assumed there would be a
boring professor standing in front of the class droning on and on
about jazz. ³Here¹s where it started; this is who played it; and
here we are today; blah, blah, blah.² I now realize that my
assumption wasn¹t all that wrong.²

"I assumed that jazz had started in the African-American community
only because it fulfilled a multi-cultural course that I was required
to take.²

"Jim Crow, in a way, was the first jazz musician.²

"Jazz was put into effect by Jim Crow¹s Law.²

***"I really enjoyed hearing the big band, ³Frank Foster¹s

***"I learned in this class that, contrary to my mom¹s opinion,
Kenny G is a joke. A really non-funny one.²

"I fell in love with that tune, ³Stablemates². It really hits

"Jazz musicians don¹t play for women any more.²

"I learned that going to jazz concerts gets me in good with the

"I learned a lot about Be Bop, Swing, Drugs, and Fusion.²

"I found new respect for Miles Davis. He was adamant about not using
drugs when everyone else was trying to get him to try some.²

"I liked hearing the Original Dixieland (Jazz) Band, and how they
were the original Dixieland band.²

"You might want to mention to future classes that jazz brings true
romance to a scene.²

"I¹m glad I took this class, because I feel more comfortable to talk
about jazz in its awesomeness.²

"Drugs caused many artists their careers in many ways.²

***"Jazz is a style of music that is almost very sober.²

"I figured jazz started in the 1960s, but to my surprise, it started
back in the late 18th century.²

***"Smooth jazz now just plain old angers me.²

"A lot of the things that I learned were facts that I never new
about, not only in jazz, but in life as well.²

"I got really excited by the tenor sax, soprano sax, baritone sax,
but not so much the alto sax.²

***³I can¹t believe that blacks had time to invent jazz if they
were hanging out in the whorehouses with Jelly Roll Morton.²

³A lot of black jazz musicians were very talented, which probably
came from them not having anything else to do.²

³When blacks and whites finally decided to get together to make
jazz, it was a big hit.²

³Lennie Tristano and Lee Konitz were two guys who would sit down and
enjoy cool jazz.²

³Going to the club gave me jazz sensations.²

³I hear the hard-bop jazz influence on bands today such as Matchbox
Twenty and Dave Matthews Band²

³I¹m now going to start this essay on jazz.²

³James Crow worked to bring the slaves together with the creoles.²

***³Learning jazz has helped me beat my mom at Jeopardy. She had no
idea who a blind pianist from Toledo, OH was for $800.

³I learned the definition of supreme technical virtuosity is to play
like Louie Armstrong.²

"Charlie Parker was a famous jazz musician who played saxophonists.²

³Getting 81% (on a test) is all well and good until you see that
dumb guy next to you who picks his nose getting 91%. I then started
studying and coming to class.²

***³I asked the drummer what the names and styles of the tunes that
he played were, but he didn¹t seem to know²

³TV has become more jazzy to me now.²

³Studying jazz has been a coming out party for me.²

³I loved the vibrational solos of Clifford Brown.²

³When I think of tradition and instruments, I think of Fiddler of
the Roof²

³I learned a lot from the different guest speakers in class, whether
they were an experienced piano player, a director of music at a major
motel, or a guitar player with an oddly placed hankercheif in his

³Jazz has the technique of classical music, the feeling of blues,
and the hope of children everywhere.²

***³I know what troubles musicians now when I watch and listen to
them play.²

³My ties to jazz were through Bleeding Gums Murphy, a character on a
TV show called the Simpsons. It comes on at 8pm on Sunday nights.²

³I was surprised to find out about the different styles of jazz like
hard, be, and post bops.²

³I thought that jazz was a certain amount of instruments that you
played and was composed for you(,) not believing that it was their
improvisation and the jazz musicians who made up the music on the
spot doing what they wanted to do with the tunes. I know this is hard
to explain but it is true.²

³When I try to play jazz, I mess around with the instruments
pounding out random notes that were just me making nonsense up and it
sounding like a big pile of crap.²

***³Jazz is more profound when it doesn¹t help pay the bills.²

³The first thing I learned in jazz history that happy birthday is
the most played jazz classic. You want to hear happy birthday in
swing BAM! You got it You want to hear happy birthday in classic jazz
BAM! You got it. You want to hear happy birthday in be bop BAM! You go
(t) it. It¹s great The second thing I learned is free jazz is where
its at. I think that I could be a free jazz musician cause it all
sounds like a drunk 7 year old jamming down on some notes and making
the sweet sweet music fly. Free jazz was defiantly the best part of
the class but unfortunately you didn¹t play free jazz enough. My one
suggestion for your next class is that you start out every class with
a 5 minute free jazz intro. Over all and all, I defiantly learned a
lot in jazz history class.²

³Hip hop and pop are fine, going out for fame and bling bling. Jazz
has been around for a while, is out of style, but can really sing.²

³Jazz musicians sing and play music because they can¹t contain
their passions. Their music starts in the soul radiates out in every

³Jazz is a very dynamic kind of music. Loud and Soft.²

***³Swing makes you want to get up and dance and free jazz just
makes you want to get up.²

³If any kind of music can calm a hectic day, its cool jazz. If you
feel like going out and dancing, however there is ragtime.²

³In conclusion, jazz is music.²

³Jazz has come from the fields of New Orleans to my 2pm class, and

³Unlike other forms of music, jazz is listened to by old people as
well as us.²

³I learned what intros and outros were in this class. Now I look for
them when I go searching for good music.²

³I went to do my (jazz) listening report at the house of blues.²

³Jazz has taught me a lot about the Civil War, World War I, and
World War II.²

³I thought of jazz as a thing of the past, something old African
American men listened to on old record players while sitting on their
front porches smoking cigars.²

***³Steve Turre has taught me that sea shells should be left on the
ground instead of his mouth.²

***³Over the course of the semester my knowledge of jazz has gone
from nothing to practically nothing.²

³Even though I probably won¹t listen to jazz after this semester,
it has given me a greater appreciation of movies.²

³My favorite person to study was Sonny Rollins. He knew that he had
to throw his saxaphone off the bridge when he heard how good Charlie
Parker was.²

³Jazz to me was the ³shoo opps² from groups in streets downtown
in the olden, golden days.²

³Happy birthday That song is just amazing to me.²

³My all-time favorite jazz artist to listen to was Buddy Baldwin,
AKA ³the jazz king.² I think I¹m going to go out and buy a
couple of his CDs²

***³I was surprised to find musicians with such odd names such as
Vilage Von Guard.²

³Jazz is not as popular with all of the adolescence going around.²

³I like jazz more in books than on cds.²

³I remember coming into class with no facts but a whole plate of
bullshit to dish out.²

³I found myself learning about Blues, Early Jazz, Dixieland, Swing,
Be Bop, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Third
Stream, Japanese, Post Bop, Fusion, Smooth, Modern Jazz, and the list
goes on.²

***³¹Call and Respond¹ is where one musician plays and the other
one tries too hard to figure out what he¹s doing.²

³The people in Dixie Land originated jazz music.²

³Jazz is now a part of me from 2pm-3:15pm every Tuesday and

³Jazz started in the fields where they used hand-me-down instruments
and wore hand-me-down clothes.²

***³If Wynton Marsalis said jazz was dead in the 1970¹s, what was
he playing at the time?²

³Weather Report was the final big band back in the day.²

³My girlfriend and I both agreed the next morning that jazz-club
food was something we could¹ve done without.²

³Jazz agitates me.²

³I like jazz, but I need something else besides rhythm, melody, and

³I had no clue that so many (musicians) used drugs. Thinking about
that, there is no doubt that they are living the life I dream of.
They are spending money on things that they don¹t really need or
even want.²

³I noticed that there weren¹t many jazz women in our textbook
until I looked to see that the author was a guy. All guys are sexist,
women bashers, who don¹t ever give us our credit.²

***³The part I most enjoyed was studying and appreciating slavery.²

***³Its hard to imagine where Wynton Marsalis gets his ideas from.²

???³I¹d like to see midgets getting bribed in every jazz club. Not
just with Birdland. I¹m of course talking about the jazz club, not
Charlie Parker.²

³We¹ve had our share of good times and bad times over the
semester. By bad times, I mean my tests.²

³Count Bassie WAS the swing era²

³This class increased my intelligence with aptitude.²

³Duke Ellington had the ability to turn jazz compositions into pure

***³Swing died in World War II when the soloists took over.²

***³I could go on and on about jazz, but I won¹t.²

³Tony Williams was my favorite drummer because his group, Lifetime,
is the same name as my favorite channel that I watch.²

³How do the musicians know what to play when their eyes were closed
the whole time? And what was with the piano player talking while he
played his solos. His musician friends must have been thought he was

³I technically wasn¹t in your class but I was happy to be along
for the ride.²

³I was in jazz band in high school but we didn¹t play jazz music.²

³Dizzie Gillespie was the one who jammed on the drums.²

³I thought doing our listening report would be a painful sort of

³I was bummed out at the beginning of the semester because I thought
Louis Armstrong was going to be one of the guest lecturers.²


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