Elective: Jazz Appreciation - All levels

Jazz Appreciation – All levels (10-20-30)

Jazz is indigenous to the North American continent and has now become a music that is created worldwide. This module explores the various styles of jazz, including a study of its origins. Through critical listening and analysis, the student explores the historical and stylistic periods of jazz, with an emphasis on researching and listening to jazz music.

To complete this module, you need to complete two tasks: Elements of Jazz and Greatest Hits Album.


Elements of Jazz

1. Improvisation is a critical component to jazz music. What is improvisation? Give an example.

2. Jazz ensembles are normally divided into 2 sections: the Horn Section (melodic instruments) and the Rhythm Section (percussion and harmonic instruments). Fill in this chart with the most commonly used jazz instruments and which category they belong to.

Horn Section

Rhythm Section






3. The most distinctive and characteristic rhythm in jazz is “swing.” What does that mean? What is the difference between a “straight” rhythm and a “swing” rhythm?

4. What is a “blues scale”? Give an example. How are blues scales used in jazz? Are there other scales (besides major and minor) that are used?

5. What is 12 bar blues? What is AABA form?

Greatest Hits Album

You are a concept designer working for Argyll Records, the leading company for authentic jazz recordings. Your company is producing a series of “Greatest Hits” albums for famous artists in different eras and styles. You need to present 4 greatest hits CD proposals to the CEO for his approval. You may present this information as a plain document, or design an album cover using PowerPoint or other artistic software. If you use a website or book for research, please include the title and website address in a bibliography.

Each CD proposal must contain:

  • The name of the artist, birth and death dates and a picture of the artist
  • A brief biography of the artist (10 sentences maximum)
  • A brief summary of the style of music that they primarily perform. Include specific information about: how the style developed and a description of the characteristic sound of the style.
  • Two of the artist’s most famous songs – provide a Youtube link, if one is available

Choose from the list of artists provided, or choose your own jazz artist. You must choose 4 artists with different styles.

Jelly Roll Morton – Dixieland

Louis Armstrong – Dixieland

Duke Ellington - Big Band

Glenn Miller - Big Band

Frank "Machito" Grillo - Latin Jazz

Tito Puente - Latin Jazz

Dizzy Gillespie – Bebop

Charlie Parker – Bebop

John Coltrane – Hard Bop

Stan Getz - Cool Jazz

Nat Adderley – Hard Bop

Dave Brubeck - Cool Jazz

Ella Fitzgerald – Vocal Jazz

Frank Sinatra – Vocal Jazz