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Elements of Jazz: From...
Bill Messenger
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Elements of Jazz: From Cakewalks to Fusion (The Great Courses)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The uniquely American music and art form, jazz, is one of America's great contributions to world culture. Now you can learn the basics of jazz and its history in a course as free-flowing and original as jazz itself. Taught by Professor Bill Messenger of the Peabody Institute, the lectures in this course are a must for music lovers. They will have you reaching deep into you ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published January 1st 1995 by The Great Courses
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I have been impressed with all of The Great Courses I have viewed or listened to over the years. This 8 lecture series on jazz is no exception. I only wish Bill Messenger made another more comprehensive series on jazz.
This is such a great short history of jazz/rags/blues/swing/and even ancient modes. Messenger tells great stories as teaching tools and has wonderful music samples that bring it home. For instance, he carries one tune across all the genres to compare the different styles--among many others. He also plays a brilliant piano in all these styles. So enjoyable on so many levels.
I've listened to a number of the Teaching Company courses. This one was ok but not awesome. Messenger is a pianist, and the best parts of the course are when he plays a little bit to explain something. However, the course is loosely structured, and portions of it (when he has guest performers, particularly) kind of wander.
This is a great Teaching Company course that introduces the listener to the world of jazz music. I give it 5 stars because I particularly enjoyed the early chapters on the evolution of musical styles that led to jazz. I still prefer classical music by far, but I enjoyed learning about this other musical world. I also very much enjoyed the lectures on ragtime music (think Scott Joplin) and big band music. The lecturer, Bill Messenger, also shared great stories and played the piano in various styl ...more
Halldór Thorgeirsson
This series of lectures was very enjoyable. Bill Messenger is warm and relaxed and clearly knows this stuff. He used his piano to illustrate what he was talking about and occasionally broad in other musicians.
Highly recommended for the music history buff, or if you just want to know where the phrase "It'll be a cake walk" comes from.
Great to get a better idea of jazz with books on CD
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