“Jazz It Up A Little”

With the overlapping of genres in the late 20th century, the formation of Jazz music was no exception.  Jazz became a development of African American religious music, classical music, ragtime, and the blues. Considered the African American classical form of music, jazz had a distinguished originality of  improvisation and virtuosity. Its focus on instrumental performance rather than vocal performance made it one of the most influential genres of its time.

Jazz has said to have originated in New Orleans, Louisiana. The presence of the downtown Creole musicians and the uptown African American brass and string bands is what many consider to be the basis of Jazz music. The first jazz band to come out of this era was led by Buddy Bolden, who was remembered for his elaboration of melodies and loud playing.

In Chicago, recordings of  jazz music became documented, including the works of Louis Armstrong and Joe “King” Oliver. During this time the racial tensions between whites and blacks in Chicago took a turn as interracial interactions became greater within the genre. However, black jazz bands were still shunned and overlooked by many night clubs and prominent television programs including NBC.

During the 1930’s and 1940’s Jazz took on many different styles. Bebop, cool, and traditional jazz are just a few of these styles. After the commercialization and commodification of swing music, bebop’s fast tempo and harmonic structure led it to in away revitalize swing music. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were  some of the most influential artist of this genre.  For example, Charlie Parker’s ew-harmonized standard of  “Cherokee”  set a new level of virtuosity within the genre.

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Jazz music has continued to expand and  influence other genres of music including rock, funk, and soul.  Within the different styles of jazz, I tend to appreciate  smooth jazz as it incorporates the use of a lead melody instrument. Smooth Jazz has gone on to bolter the careers of artist such as Chaka Khan and Sade Adu.


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