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CLS Class Highlight – Jazz and the Global Community

person playing jazz instrument

What class?

LSTD 4273: Jazz and the Global Community

Why is it cool?

In the 19th century, New Orleans was a thriving community of people from everywhere on earth. Its flourishing markets and fluid mix of color made it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the country – and the perfect birthplace for what would eventually become America’s most distinctive music genre.

The jazz (originally called jass) that first appeared in New Orleans developed in a brass band tradition that emphasized a solid ground beat and collective polyphonic improvisation on a common melody. It was a combination of European influences and the Blues that came together to form an entirely new sound. Soon after its rise to popularity in the South, it traveled to Chicago, San Francisco and New York before spreading rapidly throughout the rest of the world. Today, jazz is known as American music that gained international attention and still remains popular to this day.

Like all music, jazz is an expression of, and an influence on, the society and culture of which it is a part. Jazz in the Global Community is, of course, a class about jazz. It discusses its social history and its relationship to world cultures and the international community. Although jazz is no longer the most popular music in the United States, as it once was, its history and the issues surrounding its nature stand at the heart of a diverse America that has borrowed from cultures and traditions all over the world.

Students in this class leave with a rich appreciation of America’s classical jazz and the many forms that derive from it. They also develop a deep understanding of the current issues surrounding multicultural debates in American life. By exploring the very roots of these issues from anthropological, sociological and human relations perspectives, students become well versed in what was truly one of the world’s first global languages – jazz music. 

See what else is offered by the College of Liberal Studies.

Mary Wuestewald
Mary Wuestewald specializes in digital and content marketing at OU Outreach. In 2015, she earned a master's degree in Strategic Communication from OU’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication. She currently contributes to Insight magazine, the CLS blog and CLS social media efforts.

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