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Free Jazz and Fusion




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, click here.

4. Student handouts can be downloaded from the Jazz in America website and photocopied.

5. Any material from the Jazz in America website may be downloaded, printed, and/or made into a PowerPoint slide as the instructor sees fit.


  1. Free Jazz
  2. Fusion

National Standards for United States History1

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. Draw upon the visual, literary, and musical sources, including (a) photographs, paintings, cartoons, and architectural drawings; (b) novels, poetry, and plays; and (c) folk, popular and classical music, to clarify, illustrate, or elaborate upon information presented in the historical narrative (Historical Comprehension Standard 2I).
  2. 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).

National Standards for Music Education2

Artistic Process - Responding: Select, Analyze, Interpret and Evaluate Music
  1. Analyze how the structure and context of varied musical works inform the response. – Demonstrate and explain, citing evidence, how responses to music are informed by the structure, the use of the elements of music, and context (such as social, cultural, and historical) (MU:Re7.2.5a).
  2. Support interpretations of musical works that reflect creators’/performers’ expressive intent. – Demonstrate and explain how the expressive qualities (such as dynamics, tempo, timbre, and articulation) are used in performers’ and personal interpretations to reflect expressive intent (MU:Re8.1.5a).
  3. Support evaluations of musical works and performances based on analysis, interpretation, and established criteria. – Evaluate musical works and performances, applying established criteria, and explain appropriateness to the context, citing evidence from the elements of music (MU:Re9.1.5a).
Artistic Process - Connecting: Synthesize and Relate Musical Ideas
  1. Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make music. – Demonstrate how interests, knowledge, and skills relate to personal choices and intent when creating, performing, and responding (MU:Cn10.0.5a).
  2. Relate musical ideas and works with varied context to deepen understanding. – Demonstrate understanding of relationships between music and the other arts, other disciplines, varied contexts, and daily life (MU:Cn11.0.5a).

The student will:
  1. gain a full understanding of:
    1. free jazz
    2. fusion
  2. explore how free jazz and fusion reflected American culture and society in the 1960's and 1970's

  1. computer logged onto www.jazzinamerica.org
  2. LCD projector and screen
  3. CD player (optional)

  1. The Instrumental History of Jazz (IHJ)3 – optional
    1. two CDs
    2. accompanying booklet
  2. Student Handouts4 (one per student)

The instructor will:
  1. distribute student handouts5
  2. discuss the fundamentals of:
    1. free jazz
    2. fusion
  3. discuss American history and culture regarding:
    1. free jazz
    2. fusion
  4. play various jazz recordings, including examples of free jazz and fusion

The students will:
  1. participate in a class discussion regarding free jazz and fusion
  2. participate in a class discussion regarding jazz history as a part of American history in the 1960’s and 1970’s
  3. listen to jazz recordings of free jazz and fusion
  4. follow and interact with the animated student handout entitled "Journey #7: Monterey Jazz Festival and Newport Jazz Festival" (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:
    Monterey Jazz Festival
    Newport Jazz Festival
    mid 1950's to present
  2. Historical Events:
    Civil Rights Movement
    Bicentennial of the United States
    1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  3. Vocabulary:
    backup singers
    call and response
    Civil Rights
    gospel music
    jazz festival
    jazz rock fusion
    modal harmony
    protest song
    Soul Jazz
    theme song
    trading fours
    United States National Anthem
  4. Experience the Music
    Found throughout each student handout, this section provides students with an activity to help them Experience the Music firsthand.
    IDENTIFY STYLE: Students listen to a recording and determine the style of the solo.

    IDENTIFY INSTRUMENTATION: Students listen to a recording and determine if they hear a solo or an ensemble.
  5. Jazz Artists:
    Art Blakey
    Dave Brubeck
    Ron Carter
    Ray Charles
    John Coltrane
    Dizzy Gillespie
    Herbie Hancock
    Branford Marsalis
    Wynton Marsalis
    Charles Mingus
    Wallace Roney
    Wayne Shorter
    Thelonious Monk

the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
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