Jazz Era
(Trad Jazz)

Kingdom of Jazz

New Orleans Kingdom of Jazz:

Traditional Jazz set the standard for other Jazz forms around the world. Trad Jazz is a kingdom in itself and was birthed in New Orleans.


 Traditional Jazz led to the innovations in jazz we see today. This includes cool jazz, smooth jazz, free jazz and much more. Its roots to African American Cultures shows how important Jazz was to people of color. It also shows the large popularity surrounding Jazz and the instruments involved. The Trumpet has become very popular and significant in Today’s society,because of Jazz Artist Louis Armstrong. His contribution to the genre is still noticed in Movies such as Princess and The Frog and in other forms of Jazz in Media. Traditional Jazz also brought the importance of many elements including improvisation. These elements allowed many musicians to thrive without a traditional background. Jazz in many ways was freeing and opening. Many musicians known for their blues songs and ragtime would also do well in the Jazz Area. Jazz has elements of the previous genres within it.


Jazz originated in New Orleans, Louisiana before the civil war. In the early 1800’s, slaves in this area were given every Sunday off from their duties. They used their Sundays to congregate an area known as congo square and play music and dance. The slaves had different cultures spreading from the west indies to parts of Africa. Their Sunday’s allowed them to mix all of their cultures together to create a new type of music. The songs were always upbeat and happy, unlike the blues. As the civil war unfolded the area would be able to have more access to each other with emancipation. They could officially create bands and make music. By the 1940s their Music began getting attention around the country by recording systems. 

Main Instruments:



The cornet was created in 1814 around the same time of the birth of Jazz itself in New orleans. The instrument was more popular than both the trumpet and trombone for a long time. This instrument had a limited range in pitch and lacked a valve for a long time. It was  a classical instrument that is still used. 


The trumpet is the most popular instrument in the Jazz genre. It began to become popular because Louis Armstrong played it as one of the first jazz musicians around the mid 1920’s. There was a mass transition to this instrument, because people wanted to play like him. It had a larger range to produce notes at higher frequency.


The Trombone was played in large band in the late 1800s in concerts and army bands across the world. The instrument itself is an ancestor of the Trumpet. When the instruments are played together the sound creates a sense of harmony. It became popular in the Jazz era because J.C. Higginbotham was playing it alongside Louis Armstrong. Its importance to the jazz era increased.  



Syncopation is an element in Jazz that keeps the music evolving and interesting to the audience. The beats and rhythm change constantly throughout different pieces to keep the music upbeat. Without syncopation, the music would be flat island stale.


Swing is another element in Jazz. Swing is carried out in eight notes and keeps the momentum going in the music. The eight notes are derived from triple beats called triplets. Many artists could choose which part they would like to swing on. In many cases they would swing on the third triplet.


Improvisation is very important to jazz. It allows the audience to hear a different rhythm in the midst of a song. It allows the artist to express themselves with feelings and emotions. The music becomes raw and honest.


Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong grew up poor in New Orleans in the early 1900s. He dropped out of school  in elementary school to start working. He earned enough money to buy a cornet and began his music career.  He recorded albums with the  Hot Seven became very popular along with his switch to the trumpet. He was known for his improvisation elements in music and live performances. His group became so popular they were able to thrive on Broadway in New York. Then he began touring up until his death which occured in 1971. His legacy includes him being one of the greatest musicians of the Jazz Age and in New Orleans. 

Buddy Bolden

Buddy Bolden is considered one of the first jazz musicians as he led the popularity of this genre into the mid 1900s. He began playing the cornet in ballrooms in New Orleans with his group Maroon 5 at night he played on the street corners in rough neighborhoods. He was known for his talent and skills in Jazz before it began to thrive. He had a large drinking problem and mental health problems, which gained control of his career. It ended as soon as he was admitted to the Louisiana State Asylum in 1907. He died in 1931 at the institution, but his legacy lives on as the mastermind of Jazz.

Jelly Roll Morton

He was a ragtime pianist but also had a lot of influence in the Jazz area. He was born in New Orleans from a creole family who disapproved of his music career. He continued to follow his dream. He got his nickname from his flamboyant presence. He lied about his age to appear older and more experienced in his craft. He became very popular until people began stealing his music because he did have it copyrighted. He died before he could get recognition in 1941 as Jazz was becoming more popular. 

Trad Jazz in the media:

Princess and the Frog:

The Jazz age is also represented in the Media including in the Movie of Princess in the Frog. This movie has many elements of the time period and the rise of jazz in a film set in 1940’s New Orleans. This place is the birthplace and era of the creation of Jazz. Throughout the movie the soundtrack, visuals, and script makes note of the Jazz Age of the city at the time. This includes the crocodile being able to play the trumpet and he mentions he wants to perform like Louis Armstrong as well.  There are small bands of black that perform on the street and also in ballrooms. This gives an insight to the Jazz Age the Black influence is a part of it. People of all backgrounds would stop and listen to jazz players.


In conclusion, Trad Jazz is very important. It set the standard for other types of jazz today. It roots to blacks and creole people shows that Jazz is a mixture of african descended people before it got its official name. Many artists started with different genres before they transitioned to Jazz.  New Orleans became a home for anyone from anywhere to embrace Jazz despite their previous music background. It also gave many African descended people opportunities that would otherwise be unappreciated before the rise of Jazz.  It also gave this group of people a platform that embraced improvisation. As a result, many musicians did not have to be classically educated in Jazz to play it well. 

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