Jazz and the Expansion of Black Intellectualism


Jazz was the genre which pioneered Black intellectualism for it encouraged  free thinking and creative expression. Prior to jazz the content of music was was expressive of actual events and narrated non fiction stories. Jazz allowed artists to convey their inner thoughts and abstractly express their feelings. Jazz is distinguished  by its complex chords and fast, upbeat tempo and sometimes improvisation. There are many different sub-genres of jazz;  Classical/Traditional, Bebop, Cool, Free, Modal, and jazz fusion. The sub-genres are differentiated by subtle elements such as different chords or tempos. Below is an example of each type of jazz.


Bebop emerged during the mid 1940s. Its is distinguished by rapid chord changes, complex chord progressions, and a  fast tempo. The key instruments are saxophone and piano. 

Bebop helped to usher in Black intellectualism because a key component of this style was improvisation. Improvisation allowed an artist to showcase their  individual talent and test their  creativity. 

Pictured above from left to right is Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk



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