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Cool Jazz


1. National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA

2. NAfME: The National Association for Music Education

3. For information on ordering The Instrumental History of Jazz 2-CD set, go to www.amazon.com (item # B000001YNU).

4. Student handouts may be down loaded from the Jazz in America website (www.jazzinamerica.org), printed, and photocopied.

5. Any material from the Jazz in America website (www.jazzinamerica.org) may be down loaded, printed, and made into a transparency as the instructor sees fit.


  1. Cool Jazz
  2. Cultural Implications of Cool Jazz

National Standards for United States History1 (grades 5-12)

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. appreciate historical perspectives (Historical Comprehension Standard 2f).
  2. draw upon visual, literary, and musical sources including...folk, popular and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative (Historical Comprehension Standard 2i).
  3. draw comparisons across eras and regions in order to define enduring issues as well as large-scale or long-term developments that transcend regional and temporal boundaries (Historical Analysis and Interpretation Standard 3d).
Historical Content
Students should be able to:
  • how the social changes of the postwar period affected various Americans (Era 9: Postwar United States Standard 1b).
National Standards for Music Education2 (grades K-12)
Students will be:
  1. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music. (Standard #6)
  2. Understanding music in relation to history and culture. (Standard #9)

The student will:
  1. gain a fundamental understanding of cool jazz
  2. explore how cool jazz reflected American culture and society in the 1940’s and 1950’s

  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 Jazz3 (IHJ) (optional)
    1. two CDs
    2. accompanying booklet
  2. student handouts4 (one per student)
  3. overhead projector transparencies5

The instructor will:
  1. distribute student handouts
  2. discuss the fundamentals of cool jazz
  3. discuss American history and culture regarding cool jazz
  4. play various recordings, including examples of cool jazz

The students will:
  1. participate in a class discussion regarding cool jazz
  2. participate in a class discussion regarding jazz history as a part of American history during the 1940’s and 1950’s
  3. listen to jazz recordings of cool jazz
  4. follow and interact with the animated student handout entitled "Journey #6: California West Coast Jazz" (click on the Student Handout button on the left-hand side of your screen)

A Test Bank is provided that includes questions in the four formats listed below. At the teacher's discretion, all of the questions in each test bank may be used, or a few questions from each format may be selected to compile a shorter test.
  1. Multiple Choice
  2. Fill in the Blanks
  3. True / False
  4. Matching

The following topics and activities are covered in the Student Handout:

  1. Destination and Dates: West Coast Jazz, mid 1940's to 1960

  2. Historical Events:
    building of the Panama Canal
    Civil Rights Act
    Fair Housing Act
  3. Vocabulary:
    Civil Rights Movement
    Cool Jazz
    Early Jazz
    Fair Housing Act
    Latin Percussion Instruments
    New Orleans jazz
    Panama Canal
    Progressive Jazz
    steady beat
    Swing style jazz
    West Coast Jazz
  4. Experience the Music
    Found throughout each student handout, this section provides students with an activity to help them Experience the Music firsthand.
    IDENTIFY STYLES: Students listen to a recording and identify a particular jazz style.

    IDENTIFY VAMP: Students say lyrics with "Take Five" vamp.

    IDENTIFY INSTRUMENTS: Students listen to a recording and identify which instrument is being played.
  5. Jazz Artists:
    Count Basie
    Dave Brubeck
    Clora Bryant
    Nat 'King' Cole
    Buddy Collette
    Duke Ellington
    Dizzy Gillespie
    Benny Goodman
    Lionel Hampton
    Stan Kenton
    Melba Liston
    Kid Ory
    Charlie Parker

the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
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