Early Jazz

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Early History of Jazz

Jazz is a style of music that began and has been revolutionized within the United States. Jazz music first appeared in the city of New Orleans and eventually moved onto Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and New York City. Jazz unites different elements of African, African- American, religious, brass brand, and blues style of music. The music of Jazz, and its changes through the years, is now a form of music that is known and respected throughout this nation and the world.

Jazz music is a blending of both black and white tradition and heritages. New Orleans was the center of many different ethnicities, such as French, Spanish, American, and African American, which resulted in a city with a unique blend of individuals. New Orleans became a significant center of culture in the mid to late 1800’s. It is believed that jazz was largely influenced from African slaves who were brought over in the 1800’s, who did not have their native instruments, had to make due with what they could find in their new home of the southern United States. On arrival in America, they were exposed to western musical styles that include harmonies, tonal sounds, along with unique beats and rhythms. This resulted in a raw version of what we know as Jazz. Some components of early jazz are still found in the many modern forms of music such as soul and reggae.

Ragtime, considered to be the earliest type of jazz, was introduced in the very late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Also, ragtime was considered one of the most decorative and popular styles of music. Ragtime can best be described as a solo instrument style, usually consisting of a piano. As a means of income, many early Ragtime musicians would produce and sell their own music and have them published onto piano rolls in which they could be played in perosonally owned pianos. These piano rolls allow a new and large group of individuals to be exposed to the sounds of ragtime. Multiple moderns forms of music have derived form original ragtime including rhythm and blues.

One of the most influential ragtime musician and entertainer was Scott Joplin. Scott Joplin was born in Texarkana, Texas on November 24, 1868. Through his talent on the piano and as a composer, he is generally known as the “King...

... middle of paper ... turn the corner with bop. Bop groups were much smaller than swing bands and included improvised solos, rhythmic complexity, and unpredictable forms. It was a bit of a revolution for jazz.

There were several individuals who played key roles in the bebop and progressive jazz era. Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie are just a few of the top jazz artist of the decade. Dizzy Gillespie, who was born in South Carolina in 1917, had an amazing talent, and by the age of 20 he was already touring with major bands. He helped bebop really emerge. Bebop was a type a jazz that was more robust and difficult to play. Overall, bebop still remains the stepping stone into multiple new forms of jazz.

In conclusion, I believe that the early history of jazz is vital in really understanding the complexity and beauty of jazz as a whole. Jazz, being a native form of music within the United States along with it many changes in the 1900’s, has significantly influenced American culture and its development through the years. Jazz remains an influential facet in the world of music and it is enjoyable to know where it came from.
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