Jazz Narrative in Novels and Film

University of Kansas

American Studies/English

Fall 2006


How you'll be graded: On the basis of: a (probably take-home) final exam (34%); a 2000-word, documented research paper on a topic you select and I approve, due by beginning of class on 28 November (34%); a combined grade based on the quality of your participation in class, and the quality of your response papers (frequently assigned in class, and due via the class Blackboard site by noon the following Tuesday) on the books and films screened (33%).

Jazz Autobiography

University of Kansas

American Studies/English

Fall 2007


How you'll be graded: On two 1250-1500-word term papers, due week 8 & week 16 (35% of your final grade each), eight one-page typed response papers (20%) as explained below, and class participation (10%). We aim to stimulate lively classroom discussion.

Possible paper topics will be discussed in class; check with me to approve a topic before your start writing.

There will be regular quizzes, but no mid-term exam. A final exam is possible.

Exploring Jazz Guitar


Bates College



Tape 1, Side A

"Chain Gang Blues" Sam Moore, octocorda. New York, July 1921.

"Four Hands are Better Than Two" Lonnie Johnson (guitar), Jack Erby (piano). St. Louis, 30th April, 1927.

"Add a Little Wiggle" Eddie Lang (guitar), Frank Signorelli (piano). New York, 29th March, 1928.

"Paducah" Lonnie Johnson (guitar), with the Chocolate Dandies. New York, 13th October, 1928.

Musical Literacy and Jazz Musicians in the 1910s and 1920s


Chevan documents the musical literacy of early jazz musicians in order to debunk romantic notions of "primitivism" in jazz. Even as jazz first emerged as a distinct musical form, its leading musicians had to read music as well as improvise.  Reading music was essential to understand the variety of styles they absorbed and incorporated and to function in any professional situation they found themselves in.

Mainstreaming Monk: The Ellington Album


Monk and Ellington were kindred spirits: both were profoundly influential composers and wonderfully idiosyncratic pianists. Tucker explores and evaluates Monk's recording of nine Ellington compositions from 1958. Detecting some diffidence in Monk's attitude toward the project, he suggests that the recording may have been designed to position Monk as part of an emerging jazz "mainstream," or middle way between extremes, which was a commercial and critical trend so powerful it swept along even an iconoclast like Monk.


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