20-21 Registration now open!
These are online music classes, taught using Zoom
Through video and audio recordings as well as demonstrations, trumpeter/pianist/composer Alan Matheson takes you on a lively exploration of fascinating topics hand-picked from the world of jazz. Sign up for the classes that interest you most, or enroll in the entire series of 12 for $195 (a saving of $105!)
|A Century of Big Bands-Part 1: 1920-1945|
A Century of Big Bands-Part 2: 1945-2020
|Part 1: 1920-1945|
The jazz big band is often the “starting point” for many jazz players and listeners. This class will explore the beginnings of this unique type of music ensemble via the music and performances of pioneering band-leaders and arrangers including Paul Whiteman, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington and Mary Lou Williams. Even though virtually all big bands during this period played for dancing, the jazz-based big bands helped disseminate the wonderful world of jazz to a larger audience.
Part 2: 1945-2020
This class continues the saga of the jazz-based big bands from the early days of modern jazz (Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman) to more contemporary jazz orchestras (Toshiko Akiyoshi, Maria Schneider, Christine Jensen). The post-war period was a time of great change in big band music with arrangers and composers exploring new avenues in jazz inspired by everything from contemporary “classical” music to the sounds of World music.
|Great Jazz Albums-Miles Davis “The Birth of the Cool”||Jan 11, 2021|
|When eleven single recordings (recorded in 1949-50) by the Miles Davis nonet were released as the album “The Birth Of The Cool” in 1957, it was also the birth of one of the most influential jazz LPs ever. The writing and playing by this short-lived ensemble had and enormous influence on modern jazz musicians both in North America and Europe. This class will document the origins of the “Birth Of The Cool” sound in the music of Claude Thornhill and Gil Evans as well as exploring the ways in which the music by the “The Birth Of The Cool” group influenced the work of later musicians (Shelly Manne, Lars Gullin, June Christy)|
|Great Jazz Albums-Duke Ellington/Ella Fitzgerald “Ella At Duke’s Place”||Jan 25|
|While Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington were frequent collaborators during the 1960s, this album is often overlooked as a high-point in their work together. “Ella At Duke’s Place” (from 1965) brought together the Ellington band at one of it’s frequent peaks and featured exquisite arrangements by Ellington and his writing/arranging companion Billy Strayhorn along with new arrangements especially designed for Ella by her pianist Jimmy Jones. Besides exploring the high points of this wonderful album, we will also listen to the original versions of some of the songs Ella revisited in this great album.|
|Jazz Piano-A Historic Overview: Part 1 (1916-1949)|
Jazz Piano-A Historic Overview: Part 2 (1949-2009)
|Part 1 (1916-1949)|
The piano has been the instrument of choice of many of jazz’s innovators and this class will spotlight the work of a number of jazz piano giants including: Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Mary Lou Williams, Nat Cole, Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. We will explore the ways in which jazz piano lay evolved as well as how elements of ragtime/early jazz were renewed and refreshed by later innovators.
Part 2 (1949-2009)
Our survey of jazz piano continues in the “be-bop” era and continues to the present day. We will listen to and explore the work of keyboard innovators including: Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Amanda Tosoff, Shannon Thue and Geri Allen among others. The diversity of approaches and high level of creativity of these musicians will demonstrate how much one musician can do with this versatile instrument!
|The Jazz Tenor Saxophone: Part 1 (1926-1940)|
The Jazz Tenor Saxophone: Part 2 (1945-2009)
|Part 1 (1926-1940)|
In many ways, the saxophone truly found its “voice” in the hands of jazz musicians-for many listeners, the saxophone is solely identified with jazz. This class will document the work of the early jazz and swing masters of the tenor saxophone including Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Don Byas and Bud Freeman. We will hear that despite playing the same instrument, all of the players we’ll explore had their own distinctive “voice”.
Part 2 (1945-2009)
The era of be-bop and modern jazz ushered in a new approach to the tenor sax and introduced young innovators such as Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. Along with these giants, we will also hear from other important tenor saxophonists who have their own personal style: Wayne Shorter, Michael Brecker and Juli Wood.
|The Voices of Jazz: Part 1 (1927-1940)|
The Voices of Jazz: Part 2 (1945-2015)
|Part 1 (1927-1940)|
The first jazz musicians were singers and this class will examine the work of these singing pioneers in detail. We will hear from Ethel Waters, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Mildred Bailey, Jack Teagarden and Jimmy Rushing-among many others. Many of these singers were great influences on jazz instrumentalists and a couple of our singers were great instrumentalists themselves!
Part 2 (1945-2015)
The popularity of vocalists in the post-war era made for a fertile ground for jazz vocalists to prosper. This class will explore the music of many jazz-vocal innovators including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Joe Williams, Alice Babs and B.C.’s own Bria Skonberg-among many others.