History and Legacy of Jazz Music

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In the 1920s, through the streets of New Orleans, a familiar sound could be heard escaping from the walls of the night clubs. The sultry saxophone solos and the strange scatting selections filled the air. The style was new and spontaneous. This new genre incorporated the styles from gospel hymns, blues, and ragtime, yet was completely different in its own way. The sound, with its new techniques that gave it a raw uniqueness, was able to capture America's curiousness, and make many fall head over heels for the new infectious sound. It drew in people from any age, race, and social status. This new genre was called jazz, and it became so popular that an era was named after it. Jazz is a blend of African American spiritual folk songs and faster upbeat Ragtime that uses a variety of beats and rhythms along with improvisations to captivate its audiences. Jazz music originated from the African American culture, but spread quickly through the rest of America as the African Americans migrated north for new work (Great Neck Publishing). Jazz music was considered so unique because it allowed musicians the ability to express individuality and their own interpretations through the use of inflection, changing rhythms, and openness for improvisation during solos.
One of the ways jazz music captivated its audience was through the musician’s use of inflection. The musician would often put extra emphasis on certain words or notes to intensify the music. Other ways artists used inflection were to accent, hold, or flatten the notes (Schuller 379). When the instrumentalist would play solos they would often use inflection on different notes to keep the audience interested on the long run-on notes. This lead to the creation of “swoops” that are well kno...

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