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Swing University Offers Night Classes on Drums, Coltrane, Charlie Christian…and Swing

Can you tell an Art Blakey drumbeat from a Max Roach? How about bebop John Coltrane from hard bop Coltrane? Know the difference between ragtime and stride?

If not, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Swing University may be just for you. The school recently announced its fall course load, which is led by Phil Schaap (pictured), Lewis Nash, Vincent Pelote and more.

“Swing University offers insights and expertise shared by jazz scholars and historians who have witnessed the history first hand, plus the rare opportunity to learn about jazz from the musicians themselves,” a press release said.

The adult-aimed night courses range from four to eight weeks in length, each costing $125 or $200, respectively. Each session runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The four-week courses are spaced out – class isn’t every week.

Courses start on Monday Sept. 15 with Nash’s “Drums and the Rhythm Section,” which aims to further students’ understanding of the inner-workings of a rhythm section.

Students who wish to gain a comprehensive history of Charlie Christian should look to fellow guitarist Pelote’s class, which begins on Monday Oct. 27. The librarian of Rutgers University’s Institute of Jazz Studies will teach on the swing era guitarist’s revolutionary techniques.

Schaap takes the task of teaching Coltrane with his eight-week course that beings on Tuesday Sept. 16.

Carline Ray, the widow of Luis Russell, who served as Louis Armstrong’s musical director, will tackle eight weeks of swing starting Tuesday Sept. 16. The bassist, guitarist and vocalist is also the mother of pop singer Catherine Russell.

For a broad overview of jazz, there’s Jazz 101 with Schaap. This is an A to Z course covering everything from Crescent City pioneers to swing to modern jazz styles. The course meets Wednesdays starting Sept. 24.

Finally, there’s Dick Katz’s Jazz Piano Icons: Past, Present and Future, an eight week course that will take you through years of jazz piano history. Katz, himself an accomplished pianist, will teach you what it means to comp or voice a chord all through legends such as Fats Waller, Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock.

All lessons are at the Irene Diamond Education Center, Frederick P. Rose Hall, the home of Jazz at Lincoln Center located on Broadway at 60th street in New York City.

For more information on specific dates or to enroll contact subscription services at 212-258-9990 or visit JALC.

Originally Published