Since 1900, when jazz -- a uniquely American music form -- began to evolve, much of its allure and artistic growth has depended on the creative freedom & expressive force that improvisation allows its performers.
Coker, himself a teacher, composer/arranger, & noted saxophonist, has written How to Listen to Jazz as a layman's guide to understanding improvisation & its importance in the development of this artistically rich yet complex music form. Without relying on overly technical language or terms, he shows how you can become a knowledgeable jazz listener -- whether you are an aspiring musician, student, jazz aficionado, or new listener. In addition to looking at the structure of jazz & explaining what qualities to look for in a piece, Coker provides a complete chronology of the growth of jazz, from its beginnings in the rags of Scott Joplin; the New Orleans style of the 1920s made famous by Bessie Smith, Bix Beiderbecke & Louis Armstrong; the Swing Era with Benny Goodman, & Art Tatum; Be-Bop; post Be-Bop; to the greats of Modern Jazz, including Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard, & Wes Montgomery. Also includes a list of suggested recordings; a section on the improvised solo; & a glossary of jazz terms.