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1930’s-40’s JAZZ

By: Ta’Niyah Armstrong

At the very start of the 1930’s, the Great Depression had devastating effects on American society. Due to this economic hardship, many Americans found it nearly impossible to navigate everyday life. With no access to jobs as a way to make money and become stable, America and its citizens fell into despair. Life was even more difficult for black Americans considering the added pressure of the Jim Crow laws and racism. With traditional and factory style jobs scarce, many people began to migrate in search for job opportunities . 

Places like New Orleans, which were popular for nightlife, became a hotspot for people looking to start careers in the entertainment industry. With the country’s spirit on a standstill, people needed a reason to be joyful once again. This birthed the 1930-40’s style jazz that we know of today. Named swing and bebop, this music incited joy and happiness into anyone who heard it. With the utilization of improvisation, musicians took a spin on traditional jazz to make it more free form. Through the help of influential musicians like Louis Armstrong and through radio/records jazz began to spread more than ever. 

Louis Armstrong:

Known as the father of the organized solo. He consolidated all aspects and jazz, and was able to play all aspects of American music through his trumpet.  

  • ‘Swing That Music’ 

Bessie Smith:

Known as the “Empress of the Blues”. The most successful and well known female musician/singer during this age. 

  • ‘Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out’

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