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Jazz and Popular Music in America Page


MUL 2380


Sample Concert Review


Elements of Music Class


Early Jazz Class


Swing Class


Bebop, Cool Jazz, Hard Bop Class


Electric Urban Blues, Boogie Woogie, Jump Band Class


Recommended Films:

the following films tie in nicely with the course


Ray (2004), starring Jamie Foxx

Required viewing for those doing their presentation/paper on Ray Charles. I can't say enough good things about this movie,

Foxx becomes Ray Charles! My only criticism of this movie is the over-the-top dancing in the "juke joint" scene and the the over-the-top 

"jive talking" between Foxx and the actor portraying Quincy Jones. Yes, it's true, jazz musicians do have their own lingo,

but I've met Quincy Jones and he doesn't talk like that!


Calle 54 (2000)

An awesome latin jazz documentary featuring live performances by Michel Camilo, Paquito D'Rivera, Tito Puente,

 Chano Domiguez, Gato Barbieri and Jerry Gonzalez with the Fort Apache Band.


Mo' Better Blues (1990), Spike Lee director

R rated for nudity, language and sexual situations

Denzel Washington is in the lead role as a modern day jazz trumpeter, with Wesley Snipes as his saxophonist

 sidekick. This film is more of a love story than about the music, but it is a great movie nonetheless, as are most Lee films.


'Round Midnight (1986)

This film earned saxophonist Dexter Gordon an Oscar nomination in his acting debut as an alcoholic jazz musician

 in Paris, but many felt he was just playing himself! A good movie, it is a bit too lengthy and some will find

 it depressing, but the music is great, Dexter is great, and the supporting cast features a slew of jazz notables.


The Temptations (1998)

This made for TV film tells the often tragic story of one of the greatest singing groups ever.

Required viewing if you've chosen the Temps as your presentation/paper topic.


Bird (1988)

Produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Forrest Whitaker, this is the story of Charlie "Bird" Parker.

One of the most influential jazz musicians of all time, he helped create Bebop.


Standing In the Shadows of Motown (2002)

An outstanding documentary about the unsung musicians that helped create the Motown sound. Check with me

 or consult your current course outline before renting this one, most semesters I show this video in class.


Jazz, A Film by Ken Burns, (2001)

A ten part video collection that traces the history of jazz. We will see bits and pieces of this series in class, but if you're

a serious jazz aficionado this is worth adding to your collection. Also, check the PBS TV schedule, it is often re-aired.


Lady Sings the Blues (1972), starring Diana Ross

Research has shown that the pseudo-autobiography of the same title contains many inaccurate details about Billie Holiday's

(Lady Day) life. It's safe to assume that Hollywood has taken even more liberties in the film version. Still, it is worth seeing,

 and highly recommended if you've chosen Holiday as your presentation/paper topic.


Can you name the jazz and pop legends in these photos?

answers: top, l to r: John Coltrane, The Beatles, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix  bottom: Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Hank Williams

North Campus: Arts and Philosophy Department, room 5226

Kendall Campus: Music, Theater and Dance Department, room 8221

New World School of the Arts, Music Division

Since I teach at three different campuses, and my schedule is different every semester, the best way to reach me is directly at the following phone #

contact info:


email me here

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