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Free Jazz and Fusion




1. National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA

2. For information on ordering The Instrumental History of Jazz 2-CD set, click here.

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

4. Any material on the Jazz in America website may be made into a transparency as the instructor sees fit.


  1. Free Jazz
  2. Fusion

National Standards for United States History (Grades 7-8)1

Historical Thinking
Students should be able to:
  1. reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration in which historical developments have unfolded, and apply them to explain historical continuity and change (Chronological Thinking Standard 1f).
  2. appreciate historical perspectives--(a) describing the past on its own terms, through the eyes and experiences of those who were there...b) considering the historical context in which the event unfolded--the values, outlook, options, and contingencies of that time and place (Historical Comprehension Standard 2f).
  3. 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).
  4. 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Historical Content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:
  • understand the "Second Reconstruction" and its advancement of civil rights (Era 9: Postwar United States Standard 4a).

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

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

  1. The Instrumental History of Jazz (IHJ) – optional
    1. two CDs
    2. accompanying booklet
  2. Student Handouts3 (one per student)
    1. chapter glossary4

The instructor will:
  1. distribute student handouts
  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 1960s and 1970s, including the Civil Rights Movement
  3. listen to jazz recordings of free jazz and fusion

Test Bank
  1. Multiple Choice Test
  2. Essay/Discussion Questions at the Teacher’s Discretion

the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
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