Essay on Louis Armstrong and The Jazz Mecca

Essay on Louis Armstrong and The Jazz Mecca

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The Jazz Mecca

There’s a relaxing feeling that comes over me when I tune in to 90.9FM on the radio on my way to school. There aren’t many people my age that listen to jazz, though. I told a friend of mine to listen to a standard that I’d heard earlier that day, and he told me he turned it off as soon as he recognized the genre, telling me that “it’s old-folk music, I can’t take it seriously”. Although I didn’t take his comment to heart, I really thought about our generation and why jazz music isn’t as popular nowadays. Perhaps I enjoy it so much because I’ve played the piano since the first grade, and appreciating the chord harmonies and creativity in the music might be easier for me than it is for my friend. It turns out my assumption was spot-on. In a radio interview, Jae Sinnett describes his first date with jazz, saying:
I heard these very complex, sophisticated rhythms, this very sophisticated harmony, and it was primarily instrumental. So, it was confusing to me and, honestly, it was a turnoff at first, simply because I didn't understand it. But I was fortunate enough to have knowledgeable people, informed people around me that sat me down and said, Jae, look, there is a method to the madness, you just have to be patient. And really, they turned me onto a different way of listening to music. (NPR)
Being an avid musician, an organist at my local church, and a piano teacher for 7 students, I’m constantly trying to better myself as a player. The only way I get better is by being exposed to new sounds. I have to constantly avoid playing in my comfort zone, and have an open mind for things I haven’t played yet. Listening to rap, heavy metal, or ‘dubstep’ just won’t cut it for me. Listening to jazz music gets me on the edge, ...


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Collier, James Lincoln. Louis Armstrong: An American Genius. New York: Oxford UP, 1985. Print.
Jazz. Dir. Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns. 2000. Film.
“Oliver was born.” Stella Oliver. Interview. Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University. 22 Apr. 1959.
Pauley, Jared. "Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. .
Sinnett, Jae. "Jazz Musician Says Genre is Dying." NPR. NPR. 25 Apr. 2014 .
"Swing and Racism." Swing and Racism. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.
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"Welcome to Jazz.com." Oliver, Joe 'King' – Jazz.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. .
Williams, Martin. King Oliver. New York: Barnes, 1961. Print.

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