Jazz music was born in the city of New Orleans,Louisiana. New Orleans had a great tradition of celebration. Opera, military marching bands, folk music, the blues, gospel, ragtime, echoes of traditional African drumming, and all of the dance styles that went with this music could be heard and seen throughout the city. It was developed by African Americans and was influenced by both European classical harmony style and African rhythms, just like most of the genres started by African-americans.
The main features and characteristics of Jazz are syncopated rhythms (as the genre was influenced by ragtime),polyrhythms, improvisation and swing notes. The instruments commonly used in jazz include: saxophones, trumpets, clarinet and jazz piano etc.
Jazz is regarded as an improvisational art, as most of the artist play their music right on the spot which I believe makes it a really interesting genre. Jazz improvisations methods are either melodic or harmonic.
Jazz played a major role in the Harlem Renaissance, which was a cultural and social revolution in New York. Like many poets and artists of this time period, jazz musicians often rebelled against the artistic norms to create something completely their own. After the Great Migration of African Americans from the south to the north in search of better jobs, jazz thrived and helped many get pass the tough economic times of the Great Depression. Although for the most part disregarded, jazz has assumed a noteworthy part in many civil rights movements, including the call-and-response chants of the abolition era to the march songs sung by many in the South during the 1950s.
Buddy Bolden who is often regarded as the father of jazz music, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie are some of the performers who innovated and impacted Jazz music.
During the peak of popularity of jazz music ,the recording industry played a major role in its commercialization and Jazz music would not have been widely distributed to the general public without the recording industry, so it provided a perfect opportunity for making the music more marketable, this obviously meant that black jazz musicians were less credited for their invention and innovation of jazz music and the whites got the profit.Despite the negative social conditions that blacks faced, some blacks were still able to benefit and gained respect, stardom, and recognition for being the inventors of jazz music.
Another interesting aspect of the jazz genre is that it is categorized into other sub-genres such as free jazz, bebop, cool jazz, jazz fusion , trad jazz etc. Each sub genres would deserve a post just dedicated to it, but this is a general overview of jazz. However, these different sub genres have influenced other musical genres such as pop, rock and even some aspects of hiphop.
Researching on the jazz genre was very interesting and informative, as I was oblivious to the different elements incorporated in jazz, especially the different sub-genres included in these genre.
Below, is an example of traditional jazz music:
Here is another example of jazz music but from a different sub genre
I would leave it to the readers to determine which sub genre this is.