All That Jazz
Jazz became a conversation between artists: a representation of black intellectualism on a more “sophisticated” stage than its predecessors, blues and ragtime. Jazz originated in New Orleans in the 1930s, which at the time was a melting pot of cultures. Trained musicians and club musicians of the era collaborated together, and created early forms of jazz music, such as honky tonk and swing, which was heavily based on the ragtime style. Call and response, an active component of praise and worship, was incorporated in jazz music, showing the development of Black artistry through music. As musicians began to exchange ideas, improvisation became a central part of jazz. Early improvisation was the art of playing within the constructs of a chord. Later, musicians such as Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane broke free from chord structures with the sub genre, free jazz. Black people now had the ability to create and advance through music, showing their unique expertise in their performances.
Since the inception of jazz, women have been a massive part of the genre’s development. Artists such as Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan performed at illustrious venues, and shattered previous boundaries set for Black women. These women, and many more, brought upon Black pride and showed the sophistication of our people to a world that has long ignored the vast creativity of Black people.