Kennedy Starkey

The Essence of      Jazz Music

The origin of Jazz Music dates back to the early 20th century. Birthed in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, Jazz has forever been utilized as a means of celebration. The culmination of ragtime, blues, marches, etc. have long signified the diverse patterns of traditional jazz. As New Orleans was so diversely populated with individuals of African, French, Caribbean, Creole, and Spanish descent, the music of that time reflected such population and later emerged the beautiful art form of jazz. 

Elements of Jazz Music

‘Call and Response’ patterns are often very distinct in Jazz music. Such element can be performed via instrument, voice, or in the instance that part of the band answers the other. 

Improvisation is yet another element that has helped set the language of jazz. As artists have free musical expression, the art of improvisation is vital in capturing the spontaneous nature of jazz. 

Syncopation is among one of the most common elements of jazz music. By accenting the upbeats, jazz musicians learn to master the skill of rhythmic displacement that give tunes that so called “jazzy” feel. 

          Social Implications

Jazz Music is very heavily associated with the historic Harlem Renaissance. As this movement was very much rooted in the celebration of black heritage and culture, jazz was an art form that undoubtedly fulfilled that same purpose. Jazz allowed artists and supporters the musical outlet to challenge racial injustice, civil unrest, and any other social tension that plagued society during that time. 

        Important Performers 

Jazz music was heavily pioneered by musicians such as trumpeter Louis Armstrong and singer Ella Fitzgerald. These are two musicians, who alongside many others, helped to shape the genre of jazz into what it is today. 

The Commodification of Jazz Music

Jazz music became a highly commercialized form of art during its initial rise to fame. As it was able to reach several audiences, the popularity of jazz music led to its growth as a vital export to American culture. Musicians were able to perform in clubs and produce records for profit. The Cotton Club was a prominent spot of attraction during the era of Prohibition where black entertainers would often perform for white viewers. 

    Influences of Jazz Music   

Jazz Music made a huge mark on American pop culture. In the realm of popular music, Jazz often influenced developing genres. In today’s musical atmosphere, patterns of jazz can be reflected in genres such as  Rhythm and Blues, Rock, and Hip Hop. 

Conclusory Opinions

Jazz Music is a very crucial element to Black heritage and culture. As it has been used for decades, through many different avenues, and still remains a beautiful art form; the legacy of jazz music will forever live. The patterns of jazz music often featured in today’s modern music still reflect elements indicative of traditional jazz. This style of music is one to be forever cherished among both American and Black culture. 

Works Cited

“What Is Jazz?” National Museum of American History, Smithsonian, 9 Feb. 2016,


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