Jazzin’ it up!

Jazz music originated during the late 1800’s in a central location for Black culture; New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, Jazz music is an essential piece of African- American culture and perfectly exudes our creativity, talent, and excitement for music. The combination of elements from ragtime and blues work together to create a distinct and unique sound. The most important part of jazz music was the incorporation of improvisation.  Musicians would come together and play the same “tune” but were able to improvise within a certain form to create a more melodic and harmonic sound. For a long time people believed that Jazz music could not be written down, because it was different every time it was performed. Jell Roll Morten later changed that, and is noted as being the first musician to document Jazz music.  In addition to improvisation there are many other factors that contribute to the unique sound of the Jazz genre. Jazz musicians also utilized instruments such as trumpets, saxophones, bass, and more.  The use of classical European pianos, traditional African drums, blues and ragtime elements help to create a new and truly emotion evoking sound.  In my opinion this is the purpose of music and all good art. Music should be written and performed with the goal of evoking an emotion in it’s listeners and the people performing it. Many would call Jazz music feel good music and it most certainly is. It’ success in bringing it’s listeners happiness was especially important during the time of it’s origin. During the Jim Crow Law Era, there was a lot of social pain in our culture, and just like Folk music, Negro Spirituals, and Blues, this music was a relief from this pain. More over the segregation of our music halls, venues, and clubs it was easier to keep this genre as ours, but Jazz music eventually began being played in the white clubs. In conclusion Jazz music truly impacted the culture and musicians such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane are credited with making some of the most significant impacts.

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