Jazz: Is it Synonymous with the Development of the Black Intellectual?
To simply answer the question, yes jazz was definitely connected with the development of the Black intellectual. Jazz started in New Orleans a place now known for bringing people of all walks of life together over food, drinks, good music and art. Beginning in the late 19th and 20th centuries, jazz was the result of a musical melting pot. Sounds and techniques from the blues, ragtime, folk and even “church” music were incorporated to create the sound of jazz. One element of jazz specific to New Orleans is the “Second Line” tradition. When playing the second line you will notice that the melody is repetitive and easy to sing along but has moments where different musicians may improv. In New Orleans, there is a place called the “Congo Square” that served as a place that united people. There you could find the French, Africans, Caucasians and more, creating music and art with French horns, tubas, drums, and other instruments. Jazz-influenced the way Blacks developed intellectually because they thrived on cultural diversity, innovation, creativity, and democracy. One of its main goals was to allow people to tell the stories of America by immersing themselves into the music form itself. It has been said that “Negros is Jazz and America is Negros”. To me, that statement simply reflects our contributions to society and how we have tried to continuously tell our narratives through means of art. With the culture feeding off of creativity, different subgenres of jazz emerged. These subgenres included: Traditional/Classic, Bee Bop, Free Jazz, Cool Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Modal Jazz and more. Each of these subgenres had a specific element that designated them from one another. Artists that were popular during this time period were: Buddy Bolden (First Jazz Musician), Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, “Jelly Roll” Morton, John Coltrane, Louie Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Kirby Hancock, Ornette Coleman, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and more.