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Avant Garde/Free Jazz; Fusion (1960 - 1990)


1. all styles of jazz from Dixieland to contemporary are still being performed and recorded today; all style dates given are approximations of when each respective style came to the forefront of jazz and experienced its most concentrated development; of course, styles and dates overlap

2. National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA

3. Music Educators National Association

4. Student handouts may be down loaded from the web site, printed, and photocopied.

5. Any material from the web site may be down loaded, printed, and made into a transparency as the instructor sees fit.

6. IHJ = selection is found on Willie Hill's The Instrumental History of Jazz; Web = selection is found on the Monk Institute Jazz in America National Curriculum web site (www.jazzinamerica.org)


  1. Avant Garde/Free Jazz (1959-1970)1
  2. Fusion (1969-1990)
  3. Important Figures
  4. Cultural Implications

National Standards for United States History (Grades 9-12)2

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources. (Historical Comprehension Standard 2i)
  2. compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behaviors, and institutions (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3a)
  3. consider multiple perspectives (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3b)
  4. hypothesize the influence of the past (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3j)
  5. obtain historical data (Historical Research Capabilities Standard 4b)
Historical Content
Students should:
  1. understand the “Second Reconstruction” and its advancement of civil rights (Postwar United States 1945 to early 1970s Standard 4a), able to analyze the leadership and ideology of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X in the civil rights movement and evaluate their legacies
  2. understand economic patterns since 1968 (Contemporary United States 1968 to the Present Standard 2a), able to evaluate how scientific advances and technological changes such as robotics and the computer revolution affect the economy and the nature of work

National Standards for Arts Education (Music Grades 9-12)3

Content Standard #6 - Listening to, Analyzing, and Describing Music
  1. analyze aural examples of a varied repertoire of music, representing diverse genres and cultures, by describing the uses of elements of music and expressive devices
  2. demonstrate extensive knowledge of the technical vocabulary of music
  3. identify and explain compositional devices and techniques used to provide unity and variety and tension and release in a musical work and give examples of other works that make similar uses of these devices and techniques
  4. demonstrate the ability to perceive and remember music events by describing in detail significant events occurring in a given aural example
  5. compare ways in which musical materials are used in a given example relative to ways in which they are used in other works of the same genre or style
  6. analyze and describe uses of the elements of music in a given work that make it unique, interesting, and expressive
Content Standard #9 - Understanding Music in Relation to History and Culture
  1. classify by genre or style and by historical period or culture unfamiliar but representative aural examples of music and explain the reasoning behind their classifications
  2. identify sources of American music genres, trace the evolution of those genres, and cite well-known musicians associated with them
  3. identify various roles that musicians perform, cite representative individuals who have functioned in each role, and describe their activities and achievements
  4. identify and explain the stylistic features of a given musical work that serve to define its aesthetic tradition and its historical or cultural context.
  5. identify and describe music genres or styles that show the influence of two or more cultural traditions, identify the cultural source of each influence, and trace the historical conditions that produced the synthesis of influences

The student will
  1. gain a fundamental understanding of Avant Garde/Free Jazz
  2. gain a fundamental understanding of Fusion
  3. gain a fundamental understanding of Pop/Contemporary Jazz (AKA Smooth Jazz)
  4. learn the basic definition of several terms associated with jazz
    1. avant garde
    2. fusion
    3. pop/contemporary, aka "smooth jazz"
    4. tonal
    5. atonal
    6. intonation
  5. listen to Avant Garde/Free Jazz, Fusion, and Pop/Contemporary ("Smooth Jazz") recordings
  6. become acquainted with Ornette Coleman and Herbie Hancock
  7. participate in a class discussion regarding jazz's contribution to and reflection of American culture in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s

  1. CD player
  2. chalkboard (with chalk and eraser)
  3. overhead projector (optional)
  4. computer logged onto www.jazzinamerica.org (optional)

  1. The Instrumental History of Jazz
    1. two CDs
    2. accompanying booklet
  2. Student Handouts (one per student)4
    1. chapter glossary
    2. one American History (AH) handout: The 1960s: A Tumultuous Decade
    3. Avant Garde/Free Jazz Characteristics
    4. Fusion Characteristics
    5. time line (1960s)
    6. Jazz Biographies (JB) handout (Ornette Coleman and Herbie Hancock)
  3. Overhead projector transparencies5

The instructor will
  1. distribute student handouts
  2. have students read and discuss The 1960s - A Tumultuous Decade
  3. discuss Avant Garde/Free Jazz
  4. discuss Fusion
  5. discuss Pop/Contemporary Jazz ("Smooth Jazz")
  6. examine the biographical sketches of Ornette Coleman and Herbie Hancock
  7. play significant Avant Garde/Free Jazz recordings: Enter Evening, Cecil Taylor (IHJ), and/or Full Force, Art Ensemble of Chicago (IHJ), and/or Lonely Woman, Ornette Coleman (Web)6
  8. play significant Fusion recordings: Birdland Weather Report (IHJ), and/or The Spin, Yellow Jackets (IHJ), and/or Chameleon, Herbie Hancock (Web)
  9. play significant Pop/Contemporary ("Smooth Jazz") recordings: Morning Dance, Spyro Gyra (IHJ), and/or Breezin', George Benson (IHJ), and/orMountain Dance, Dave Grusin (IHJ), and/or Mister Magic, Grover Washington (IHJ), and/or Change of Heart, David Sanborn (Web)
  10. lead a class discussion regarding jazz's contribution to and reflection of American culture during the Free Jazz and Fusion Eras
  11. inform students that if they happen to own a favorite jazz CD that they would like to share with the class, they should bring it to the final jazz class

Test Bank
  1. Multiple Choice
  2. Fill in the Blank
  3. True-False
  4. Matching
  5. Essay

the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
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