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The History Of Jazz Essay, Research Paper

The first jazz was played in the early 20th century. The work chants

and folk music of black Americans are among the sources of jazz, which

reflects the rhythms and expressions of West African song. Ragtime, an

Afro-American music that first appeared in the 1890s, was composed for

the piano, and each rag is a composition with several themes. The leading

ragtime composer was Scott Joplin.

?? The first improvising jazz musician was the cornetist Buddy Bolden,

leader of a band in New Orleans. The first jazz bands were usually made up

of one or two cornet players who played the principal melodies, a clarinetist

and trombonist who improvised countermelodies, and a rhythm section (piano,

banjo, string bass or tuba, and drums) to accompany the horns. These bands

played for dancers or marched in parades in the South.

?? Some of the first New Orleans musicians were among the most

stirring of all jazz artists. They include clarinetist Johnny Dodds,

clarinetist-soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet, pianist Jelly Roll Morton, and

cornetist King Oliver. The first jazz record was made in 1917 by a New

Orleans band the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, made up of white musicians

who copied black styles.

The New Orleans musicians discovered that audiences were eager for

their music in the cities of the North and the Midwest. In the 1920s

Chicago became the second major jazz center. White Chicago youths, such

as tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman and clarinetist Benny Goodman, were

excited by the New Orleans masters including the thrilling Louis Armstrong,

who played in King Oliver’s band.

The third major jazz center was New York City, and it became the

most important. In New York, pianists such as James P. Johnson created the

piano style by transforming rags and Southern black folk dances into jazz.

Jazz was first played in the ballrooms and theaters of New York.

?? Louis Armstrong was among the jazz musicians who accompanied

Ma Rainey and the rich-voiced Bessie Smith, the classic blues singers of the

1920s. When Armstrong began singing, too, he scattered songs by

improvising his own phrases and nonsense syllables. Billie Holiday was only a

teenager when she began her singing career. She subtly changed the notes

and rhythms of popular songs to give them new, often ironic meanings. Ella

Fitzgerald was the popular favorite among later swing scat vocalists.

The bop era, which lasted from about 1945 to 1960, was also the

period of cool jazz. Bop blossomed out of informal performances, in New

York City’s Harlem in the early 1940s. Many bop pieces were played at the

fastest tempos yet heard in jazz. Bop featured many-noted solos and

unusual, quickly changing harmonies. The opposite of cool jazz was hard bop,

which was played in the Eastern cities. Hard bop was vigorous and energetic

and emphasized the Afro-American basis of jazz.

?? The 1950s also brought forth composers who were not considered

either bop or hard bop creators. The traditional forms of jazz songs were

abandoned by Lewis, Nichols, and George Russell, who wrote complex,

brightly colorful works for big bands.

?? Chicago revived as a jazz center in 1965 when a cooperative, the

Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians , was formed to

produce concerts and to teach music to inner-city youths. European

enthusiasm about post-1960 jazz led to two important trends of the 1970s

and 1980s. First, improvising musicians from many countries were inspired to

draw on their individual musical heritages to create new kinds of jazz. The

most popular result of this trend to variety has been fusion music, which

joins jazz, rock, and Latin-American rhythms.

The concert on Wednesday night was pretty monotonous, my passion is

for dance music and hard ,uplifting beats,such as rap, rock, and house. I did

enter the auditorium with an open mind, but jazz did not click.




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