The Melting Pot that is Jazz Music

Origin of Jazz:

Jazz music originated in the late 19th century in New Orleans, Louisiana. The development of jazz started with the musical traditions of celebration in the city which often included: opera, military marching bands, blues, folk music, church music, and many more. This variety of sweet sound became a melting pot which then became the unique sound of jazz music.

Characteristics of Jazz:

Characteristics of jazz music show an expression of freedom that prior genres lacked, this expression includes: swing and syncopation, improvisation, repetition, and distinctive voices. Important performers who thrived in this genre include Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and many more.

Commodification and Social Implications:

The performers of this genre made money by performances in local clubs, gathering money from the streets, and many of the artists were signed to labels and made records. This genre helped Black people express their raw emotions through their instruments from a jumble of emotion to a distinct sound that is clear and concise. This expression lived through the music and was able to bring peace to the Black community in a trying time.

Influence on Future Genres: 

To this day, jazz music is incorporated into genres such as rap and hip-hop from artists such as Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. The rhythms and pure emotion from jazz lives on forever and that same emotion that was once expressed is still as powerful today as it was in the past. This raw emotion is a contributing factor to how jazz has lived on through various genres over the course of years. Overall, jazz music is the musical interpretation of how this world is supposed to be, a “Melting pot” which is why this genre is crucial in the history of African American Music.

By: Alyssia Santiago

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