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Jazz and Literature

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The Roaring Twenties was also known as the Jazz Age. A famous author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, labeled the period from 1919-1929 as the “Jazz Age” because of the immense change it brought about in culture and music in America. African Americans originally developed jazz in the lower Mississippi Delta and it was nourished in New Orleans. New Orleans was the city of popular jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong. While Jazz has been used in many types of music, including blues, tango, African and Indian, the most basic form o f Jazz is the 32-bar format of the American pop song. This form became the foundation of the work by such composers as Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, the Gershwin Brothers, Rodgers and Hart, Vernon Duke, and others. Gershwin’s famous song, “The Man I Love” is a good example of this A-A-B-A typology. His use of this form continues to be used by jazz musicians today. Originally, jazz was played with five to seven musicians and was called New Orleans, which became known as Dixieland. Never really folk music, jazz evolved very quickly into a professional medium. Within six years of the first sound recording in 1917, its popularity in show and stage music rose exponentially. By 1920, jazz spread from Mississippi Delta to New Orleans and through the Great Migration to northern urban centers and to many major cities in Europe. Jazz was formed from slave songs and religious African American folk songs. Today, jazz is played and listened to by people of all cultures and ethnicities and includes musical elements and styles from all over the world; jazz has gone from being America’s music to being the world’s music. The music genre, Jazz, has impacted American literature through the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement...

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...ssion caused many layoffs and housing foreclosures. The Great Depression also encased economic tension which caused black leaders to focus more on the financial and social issues rather than arts and culture. During the Great Depression, the music industry came close to collapsing. Most of the record companies went out of business. By the 1930s, jazz had a new name, “Swing”. Swing rescued the recording industry and by 1939, the number of records sold in US increased tremendously. In 1935, the Great Depression tore apart the relationship between the black community and the white store owners which developed into the Harlem Riot. Despite the turmoil, jazz continued its influence over musical expression and award winning writing in American culture . This influence continued throughout the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s and the Black Arts Movement .
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