Traditional jazz is a transformative music genre as it supports Black intellects and creatives.
In the early 20th century, jazz was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Although it’s an American-based music genre, jazz is composed of various influences from all around the world. More specifically, musical components from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Latin world inspired the people in New Orleans Congo Square. As a result, a new culture emerged out of Congo Square, and jazz music was a prevalent aspect.
Jazz quickly became a very popular music genre and branched out into multiple types of jazz music. There was traditional Jazz from New Orleans, bebop jazz, cool jazz, bebop jazz, jazz fusion, modal jazz, swing dance jazz, and the list continues. Jazz was vital because it created a space for anyone to hone in their curiosity, intellect, and, most importantly, their freedom. It’s important to note that jazz was made in the 1920s around the same time as the Harlem Renaissance. The 1920s was a crucial time for Black Americans to reinvent themselves post-enslavement, and jazz and the Harlem Renaissance were two of the most remarkable reinventions Black creatives created. The most famous jazz artists are Buddy Bolden, King Oliver, and Louis Armstrong.
The branch of jazz that I enjoy is traditional jazz. I am drawn to the music from Louis Armstrong. The “What a Wonderful World” singer first started creating music in New Orleans, LA, the jazz home. Louis Armstrong, born on August 4th, 1901, is a New Orleans native. He is nick-named ‘Satch’/’ Satchmo.’ Armstrong is best known as a trumpet player, but he was also a composer and a vocalist. Some of his other famous songs include “Summertime’ (with Ella Fitzgerald)” and “When The Saints Go Marching In.”
Armstrong grew up very poor, which led him to commit acts of juvenile delinquency. In 1912 he was arrested and placed in the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys. It was a blessing in disguise. Armstrong first learned to play the cornet at the home. With enough practice, Armstrong earned his title as the leader of the Waif’s Home Brass Band. Afterward, he perfected his trumpet skills and catapulted into fame as a jazz musician. Louis Armstrong is just one of the many jazz musicians that shaped traditional jazz. I believe that traditional jazz is the best form of jazz.
Jazz redefined what music means to African-Americans. It created spaces for innovative thinks and revolutionaries. Jazz also set the standard for what is considered creativity and what it means to redefine Black America.
“Biography.” Louis Armstrong Home Museum, Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, www.louisarmstronghouse.org/biography/.