Jazz, musical styles of Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Listening Essay help

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Requirements:

  • Chose one of the three topics below
  • 1,500 word minimum
  • Include a bibliography of at least four sources, not including the textbook. At least two sources must be from books or journal articles (including jazz magazines like DownBeat or JazzTimes). Web sources must be from official artist sites, reputable news sites, or record labels. Wikipedia and About.com are not acceptable sources. Cite sources in MLA or Chicago style format. If you are having trouble finding sources, talk to the instructor or a librarian at the UW Music Library.
  • It must be original work!!

Listening Essay Topics:

Topic 1:
Choose a well known jazz composition to research and compare three recordings by three different jazz artists. Compare the melodic interpretations, rhythmic grooves, styles, arrangements, moods, forms, and/or styles of improvisation of the three recordings.  Also briefly discuss the origin of the composition.
Topic 2:
Analyze, compare, and discuss the musical styles and philosophies of Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Discuss their musical backgrounds and influences, as well as the political and/or social conditions shaped their musical lives. Focus on the “hot jazz” approach of Armstrong in contrast to the “cool, reflective” side of Beiderbecke. Investigate the reasons for Armstrong’s world-wide popularity as opposed to Beiderbecke’s relative obscurity.
Topic 3:
Compare and contrast the music and musicians of Miles Davis’s 1940s bebop recordings, 1950s quintet, 1960s quintet, and fusion ensembles from the 1970s and 80s. Discuss the musical characteristics, repertoire, band members, and important recordings of each ensemble. Also discuss the evolution of Miles Davis’s trumpet playing.

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