Out of all the genres, Jazz has proved to be one of the most difficult to define. Jazz music originated in African American communities during the late 19th century.
In the late 19th and 20th century Jazz being an interpretation of American and European Classical Music entwined with African Folk songs and starting influences the West African culture. The greatest appeal of this genre is that it kept evolving with various artists. They influenced, interpreted and improvised this genre of music from time to time.
Jazz was used as a slang word in early 1912, the meaning of which varied but did not refer to music. Jazz word then was used in a musical context in 1915 by the Chicago daily Tribune. It was first documented in a musical context in New Orleans was in November 14, 1916. It was spoken “Jas Bands” by some in that era. The American elite society named it the word of the 20th Century.
Jazz picked up its pace between people right after the World War 2, as people started listening to music and started dancing on it. It was an enjoyable and relatable genre of the 19th and 2oth century. Many consider Ralph Ellison’s monumental novel, Invisible Man (1952), winner of the National Book Award, to be one of the most successful “Jazz” novels ever written.
Dance Music era existed before Jazz and the musician even after the jazz music was introduced, did not switch their genres of dance music, or used Jazz elements in their music. Jazz was dance music; however Jazz musicians were probably not attracted to this style of music primarily for this reason.
In the early days, musicians played Jazz for themselves as a way to free themselves from the rigidity of standard dance or marching bands or other form of commercial of popular music, which were very repetitive and difficult for jazz musicians to play or compose.
A group of 5 to 7 people originated the style of jazz music in the early century, known as “New Orleans”, which was named after the birthplace of the genre, the style is now known as Dixieland. It was commercially interpreted by a band of 12 to 15 having both male and female vocalists creating a style known as Swings during 1930.Swing was built around highly rhythmic riffs with strong soloists providing “breaks” or moments of spirited improvisation against backdrops of arranged composition.
As the slavery was being abolished in 1865, it led to many opportunities for Black people to be free, be themselves, many work opportunities grown for black people as they started playing Jazz and got opportunities in the entertainment section, including Dances, Minestrel shows, during the time where many Marching bands were formed. Black pianists played in bars, clubs and brothels, as ragtime developed.
Ragtime appeared as sheet music, popularized by African-American musicians such as the entertainer Ernest Hogan, whose hit songs appeared in 1895. Two years later, Vess Ossman recorded a medley of these songs as a banjo solo known as “Rag Time Medley. Also in 1897, the white composer William H. Krell published his “Mississippi Rag” as the first written piano instrumental ragtime piece, and Tom Turpin published his “Harlem Rag”, the first rag published by an African-American.
The classically trained pianist Scott Joplin produced his “Original Rags” in 1898, and in 1899 had an international hit with “Maple Leaf Rag”, a multi-strain ragtime march with four parts that feature recurring themes and a bass line with copious seventh chords. Its structure was the basis for many other rags, and the syncopations in the right hand, especially in the transition between the first and second strain, were novel at the time.
What African had created, was constantly improvised and turned into various tones and genres of music. Following is the list of wonders created from one JAZZ.
- African rhythmic retention
- Spanish tinge”—the Afro-Cuban rhythmic influence
- African genesis
- American music”—the influence of Ellington
- Afro-Cuban jazz (cu-bop)
- Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo
- African cross-rhythm (Afro Blue ) and many others
Jazz makes heavy use of improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note, as well as aspects of European harmony, American popular music, the brass band tradition, and African musical elements such as blue notes and ragtime. The birth of Jazz in the multicultural society of America has led intellectuals from around the world to hail Jazz as “one of America’s original art forms”. Jazz is still popular and ongoing and ever evolving genre of music ever made.