Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (BOLLI)

Jazz on the Move: Jazz Diasporas, Musical Migrations, and a Global Art

Course Number


Study Group Leader (SGL)

James Heazlewood-Dale


This course will take place virtually on Zoom. Participation  requires a device (ideally a computer or tablet, rather than a cell phone) with a camera and microphone in good working order and basic familiarity with using Zoom and accessing email.

5-Week Course

April 4 - May 9. No Class April 25.


Music moves. The very act of music-making necessitates movement, and just as the music moves bodies, bodies move music. Jazz, one of the most significant forms of artistic expression in the 20th century, is one such music that has migrated across countries, over borders, and through cultures. This 10-week course invites participants to embark on a world tour to explore how musicians across the globe have adopted and transformed jazz into a global art form. It centers on three types of jazz artists: musicians who relocate from the US to other countries, musicians outside of the US who integrate their musical traditions with jazz to develop new avenues of expression (Gypsy jazz, J-fusion, and Bossa nova), and musicians who have migrated to America to participate in shaping the diverse and multicultural North American jazz scene (Arturo Sandoval, Hiromi, Michel Petrucciani, Lionel Loueke, and Astrud Gilberto). 

Our exploration begins here, in America, with the earliest jazz innovators in New Orleans. The course’s body, however, is spent abroad and focuses on four countries, each from a different continent: France (Europe), Cameroon (Africa), Japan (Asia), and Brazil (South America). We come full circle and return home to America, able to better understand and hear the multitude of musical traditions in the American jazz landscape. Background in music theory is not required to partake in the course; the SGL will discuss any theoretical concepts in class. The only requirement is an interest in music and a willingness to have musical experiences.

Group Leadership Style

Roughly the same amount of lecture and discussion

Course Materials

The SGL will provide all course materials (recordings, videos, and readings) via email. Additionally, the SGL will provide online musical demonstrations.     

Preparation Time

Between forty-five minutes to an hour.


Growing up in the vibrant music scene of Melbourne, Australia, scholar and performer James Heazlewood-Dale relocated to Boston to study jazz double bass at the Berklee School of Music and the New England Conservatory on full scholarships. He has since performed with world-renowned artists, including Grace Kelly, Terence Blanchard, and Zakir Hussain. A recipient of Brandeis University’s Provost Research Award, he is a PhD candidate in musicology at Brandeis University; his research focuses on jazz studies and media, James has presented research at several national conferences, including the American Musicological Society and the College Music Society.