“It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got that Swing “


Jazz originated out of the rise of many other genres such as ragtime, blues, European classical music, African American religious music and musical theater in the home of New Orleans. New Orleans was special because of its diverse population of Creoles, Spanish and French in addition to immigrants from caribbean islands. Jazz has swing: the feeling of wanting to tap your feet and dance, which is created by Syncopation: the musical technique of placing accents and emphasis in unique places, creating a rhythm and sound that makes you feel good.

Some influential performers are Duke Ellington many know ” It Don’t Mean a Thing” as true swing music. Specifically in the New Orleans were composer and pianist Jelly Roll Morton and local jazz band of cornetists  with lead singer Buddy Bolden followed along with Joe “King” Oliver and Louis Armstrong. Socially Jazz brought as  together the community of in New Orleans and also hit prominent places like Chicago. It was important that the ethnicities in New Orleans see that different people with different backgrounds can come together to make and add creativity to the music. In Chicago became an place to hear black jazz music and even influenced some white musicians to join and explore their interests within the genre.

The fact that Jazz contains so many genres like European Classical music, there could be some confusion upon who represents the music. Often times African American music can be labeled and taken as just “American” often forgetting it’s African roots and lacking recognition to the black musicians. The same is probable with the genre of Jazz, as many call it the “American Classical Music” giving America its credit but not others. Like other genres their influences were what made the next genre successful, with Jazz it has helped with pop music, hip hop and some say country and rock and roll.

I personally grew up in a household that played Jazz with a mix of R&B. I love it as its calming and always makes you feel calm and relaxed in a different way from Classical music. The timbre can uplifting in a sense but also very smooth.

Below I have given a sample of Duke Ellington song as well as a modern video of Smooth Jazz.

It Don’t Mean a Thing 

Smooth Jazz 

Alexa Johnson

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