Music professor presenting 'History of Hot and Cool Jazz'

yorgason-brentMarietta College’s Brent Yorgason, Associate Professor of Music, will present “History of Hot and Cool in Jazz,” at 3 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Yorgason’s presentation will be in the Alma McDonough Auditorium and it is part of the Department of History’s series called History of Interesting Things.

Yorgason said the presentation gives him an opportunity to gather together some observations that he has made over the years in teaching jazz history.

“Looking broadly at the development of jazz over the past century, you can see some clear trends and recurring issues,” Yorgason said. “For example, jazz musicians have frequently gravitated towards one of two poles in their playing: a ‘hot’ style and a ‘cool’ style.”

Yorgason will describe the difference between these two styles and provide examples of hot and cool playing from different eras in jazz, leading from Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke in the 1920s, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young in the Swing era, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis in the ’40s, to players associated with Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, Fusion, and Smooth Jazz in later eras.

“Jazz musicians today seem to be able to switch between these two playing styles fairly easily,” Yorgason said. 

Matt Young, McCoy Associate Professor of History, said the department started the History of Interesting Things series a couple of years ago to promote the serious study of the past in a way that was accessible and interesting to a wide audience.

“Perhaps you could call it ‘infotainment,’ to demonstrate that everything has a history and how the past can be surprising and unpredictable,” he said. “So far, we’ve had members of the department give talks on the history of sugar and chocolate, Rufus Putnam, and smallpox. This is the first time we’ve collaborated with music.”

Yorgason said his presentation is geared toward listeners rather than performers.

“It should help even casual jazz listeners to gain a new perspective on listening,” he said. “For those that are primarily interested in history, this topic presents an opportunity to follow the development of a historical trend through time and to consider the cultural influences of race, economics, and geography on that trend.”

The Departments of History and Music are co-sponsoring the presentation, which is free and open to the public.