Where You From?

Jazz Background

The major components of Jazz are improvisation, syncopation, swing, a blues feeling, and complex harmonies. Unlike the majority of genres, Jazz is most prestigious for its instrumental influences rather than vocal performers.

Jazz is majorly influenced by ragtime. But other influences stem from blues, marches, African American religious music, European Classical music, and musical theater.

There are many different types of Jazz Music as well, such as swing, Bebop, Cool Jazz, and Hardbop. Swing originated in the 1930’s and emphasized horn riffs, and a constant rhythm coming from the bass. Bepop is considered combo jazz. It is made up of improvisations based on the harmonic structure, and fast tempos. Cool Jazz originated in the 1950’s and is associated mainly with the West Coast, it is considered to be very relaxed. Hard Jazz originated in the 1950s and includes phrasings and harmonies of blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel music.

Jazz was able to stay popular through broadcasts from radio stations. These radios broadcasted from major hotels, clubs, and dance halls. Sustaining programs aired late at night from hotels and clubs and featured performances from bands. Sponsered programs featured companies that hired groups for long-term contracts.


The South vs The North

New Orleans

The French, Spanish, Creole, African American, Cuban and Caribbean presence in New Orleans all contributed to the New Orleans narrative of Jazz. After Jim Crow, the Downtown Creoles, and uptown African Americans United. Creole’s added their musical literacy, and classical music. African Americans contributed their brass and string bands. Major Creole musicians were pianist Jelly Roll Morton, clarinetist Barney Bigard, and trombonist Kid Ory. African American musicians were Buddy Bolden, Joe King Oliver, and Louis Armstrong.


Chicago’s southside became a mixing pot for Jazz music. Black Jazz musicians interested many White musicians like saxophonist Bud Freeman, trumpeter Jimmy McPartland, and clarinetist Frank Teschemacher, and drummer Dave Tough. Although white musicians could cross boundaries and go to Black clubs on the south side, black musicians could not do the same on the north side in white clubs.

Louis Armstrong also made music in Chicago. Armstrong made songs like Potato Head Blues, and a series of recordings called Hot Fives and Sevens.


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