Based on Thelonious Monk: “Straight No Chaser” Documentary:
Write 1- 2 pages, vertical page format, double-spaced, submitted in a way that the grader can make comments, etc. (i.e., right here in Blackboard, or as an imported Word document)
Consider touching upon the following points:
1. How did his personal style and stage presence distinguish him from other artists we have observed?
2. Compare him to your own musical likes/dislikes.
3. Does he remind you of some modern day tragic figure?
4. Do you think his emerging mental illness was part of his creative process??
5. What of those in the film that were close to him and commented?
6. What is it about his compositions that makes him such an important figure in this art form?
7. What of societal practices/attitudes at the time and their affect on him?
8. Why is he important in the continuum of Jazz History?
Or, anything else you might feel relevant. What’s important is an honest, cogent, concise response/discussion of what in the film resonated with you.
Have at it!!!
You are, of course, expected to address the assignment correctly in terms of the factual material and your understanding of it (that is, if dates are cited they must be correct, etc.). Some of the assignments’ parameters call for you to comment on things that aren’t exactly jazz-related (Billie Holiday or Charlie Parker’s drug use, racism in society, etc.), but you must still put this in the context of JAZZ HISTORY; when talking about racism’s effect on Monk’s life and career, for example, it would be good for you to mention the specific incidents or circumstances.
Several previous students have written wonderful papers dealing with the sociological and psychological issues that these musicians have endured, but received grades lower than they expected because they did not place such discussion within the context of the history of jazz. But even though this is a Jazz History course, you will also be graded on your grammar and writing skills. Your thought processes and the construction of the paper should be logical, and your spelling, grammar, punctuation and syntax must be correct. Please try to avoid using slang or colloquial expressions (LOL, amazing, awesome, etc.) unless they are required within the context of the assignment (i.e., “Charlie Parker was often wasted on heroin”).
This is a college-level course, and you are expected to be able to communicate professionally. The grading assistant tries to make very effort to take into allowance difficulties with the English language; if English is NOT your native language, please inform Professor Williams so that the grader can be aware of it. The grader welcomes communication from students if they feel that a grade is unfair; Professor Williams will make the final decision in such cases.
Properly cite the sources