The Story of Jazz

By Essence Ward


Jazz originated in New Orleans. Traditional Jazz or New Orleans Jazz came from the many different culture gathering in congo square. Africans taken from the Caribbean were introduced to this new style of music from European cultures and jazz was born. New Orleans was the mecca because it was the route many slaves from many different cultures came through. It was also the only place slaves were allowed to freely perform music and dance from their culture. On Sundays, slaves performed in congo square creating jazz.  The first real artist to come out of this mecca of music was Charles “Buddy” Bolden. He was known as the first jazz king and he was suppose to had listened to the music from congo square since he was a child.

Jazz Kings

Kings of Trumpet

Charles “Buddy” Bolden 

The first King of jazz was known to had sat during the infamous performances at congo square as a child. He grew up to start the first jazz band. He was wildly popular  and he eventually was admitted to an insane asylum due to his fame. 

Freddy Keppard 

Keppard succeeded Bolden as the Jazz King of New Orleans. He took Jazz to the west coast, starting the first orchestra in 1912.

Joe “King” Oliver

King Oliver was a noted trumpet player and composer who took jazz to Chicago and influenced and taught possibly the greatest jazz artist Louis Armstrong.

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong was the first great jazz soloist. He pioneered all jazz as we know it now, he is the model. He affected other music genres and styles. He travelled all over showcasing his talent as a vocalist and trumpeter.

Duke Ellington featuring “It don’t mean a thang if  it ain’t got that swang” He was a noted composer who took New York by storm in 1923. Ellington was a huge part of orchestra, he was what Armstrong was to improv to orchestra. Ellington’s band had a strong foundation, many musicians stand for years allowing for better writing and what also put Ellington and the band in their own class.

Jazz around the world

1920’s New York Harlem became a pinnacle for black musicians. Bebop came out of this great era of music in New York. Clubs such as Cotton Club, Minton’s Playhouse and Showman’s made New York Harlem the hotspot it was for black music. 

After the great depression Kansas City became the new popular place for black music.  Jazz in Kansas City used the 12 bar blues structure and made riffing popular. 

52nd Street or the street that never sleeps  or swing street was the center of jazz for a time period. The 1930’s – 1950’s was a time of legendary jazz playing and swing dancing. 


Swing became the dance of jazz 

Trying to match the bounce of the beat was the origins of swing. 

Jazz paved the way for many genres. It influenced other musical structures and styles. Some notable artists include Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and Lady Day. The History of Jazz is still being used today in so many forms of music.

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