Nat “King” Cole
With Will Friedwald
Oct 1, 8, 15, and 22
Even from his earliest years, Nat Cole was unstoppable: a piano player, vocalist, actor, and entertainer, Cole would become of the most beloved figures in entertainment that the United States ever saw. As a pianist, Cole offered a melodic, swinging sound that shone in his highly influential trio model (one that would be copied by generations of artists to come), while also anchoring now-legendary endeavors like the Jazz at the Philharmonic tours. And when Cole paired his piano playing with his vocal work, he ascended to legendary status. Sporting a honeyed tone and an effortless, unrushed phrasing, Cole quickly became almost a hit-making machine, delivering classic rendition of song after classic rendition of song, to the delight of millions. His chameleonic mastery of styles have ensured that his legacy is felt across many genres, even five decades after his passing, as generations of singers continue to mimic his phrasing, while countless vocalists and instrumentalists attempt to capture his innovative sound and spirit. Author and scholar Will Friedwald will tell you more
Really the Blues? A Blues History
With Allen Lowe
Oct 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov 7, 14
What is the blues, when did it start, who first played it, and what does it mean? Isi it essential to the sound of American Music? This six-session course, taught by musician/historian Allen Lowe, will take you deep into the blues through not only the sounds of the original recordings but also through the early history of African American recording as well as the music of both white and black artists in all genres of American song. It will cover the years from 1900-1960 through minstrel recordings, medicine show song, ragtime, pre-blues, and gospel. And it will explore the blues in all its faces: through the Delta blues, hillbilly blues and country music, Western Swing, pre- and early jazz, black and white pop, black and white quartets, sanctified song, rockabilly, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, swing and modern jazz. This course will examine in detail the sound of American song, with an emphasis on the expressive qualities of African American methods of music making and sonic creation.
Jazz 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Jazz
With Seton Hawkins
Oct 2, 9, 16, 23, Nov 5, 13, 20, 27
(NOTE: Nov 5 is a Monday, the rest are Tuesdays)
Do you love jazz and want to learn more about it? Join us for one of today’s best introductions to our nation’s greatest art form! In Jazz 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Jazz, we’ll help you develop your ears to hear the many details and intricacies that make this music so endlessly fascinating and guide you through the history and development of the styles. Instructor and Swing University curator Seton Hawkins will provide your introduction to jazz; no musical knowledge is required.
With Ricky Riccardi
Oct 4, 11, 18, Nov 1, 8 and 15
The first and arguable greatest genius of Jazz, Louis Armstrong has remained one of the most beloved figures in American history for nearly a century, and his music sounds as fresh and vibrant now as it did when it was first recorded. A trumpet virtuoso, a groundbreaking vocalist, a master bandleader, a pop star, and a movie star, Armstrong enjoyed a career that spanned most of the twentieth century and helped fundamentally shape the development of American popular music and of American society. Ricky Riccardi, the world’s leading Pops scholar and a master storyteller, will take you into the wonderful world of this American icon.
New Orleans Jazz
With Evan Christopher
October 29 and 30
Join New Orleans clarinetist Evan Christopher for an exciting two-day class! He will first examine and explain the elements of style within the New Orleans music traditions, paying special attention to contemporary practitioners. Following that, Evan will explore with you a larger question: Is the discussion of New Orleans music just about stylistic vocabulary, or is the music’s relationship to the culture an essential consideration? Designed for musicians and non-musicians alike, this course will combine discussion with compelling listening examples and live demonstrations about appropriation, authenticity, cultural translation, and the future of New Orleans indigenous culture.
With Seton Hawkins
Dec 3, 10, 17
In the possible year of Scott Joplin’s 150th birthday, enjoy a brief overview of the life and music of the pre-eminent Ragtime composer and pianist. While hits of his like “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer” have endured in the popular culture to this very day, Joplin explored even more widely than he was given credit for. Indeed, his Ragtime opera Treemonisha is a forward-thinking work that anticipates the musical innovations that occurred decades after Joplin’s passing. Join us as we explore the innovations of this American master.