History Of Jazz


The first time Jazz music became popular was in 1920’s. It was inspired by the blues and was majorly popular in cities such as New Orleans and Chicago. It had its roots in the native African and American music. However, historians do not seem to know or agree on the exact date the music was started or who started it. Before the 1920’s, jazz music was characterized by improvised traditional melodies and rhythms. The African composers included the messages of oppression and slavery of the 19th century in the music. Notable performers during that period included Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. After 1903’s, jazz had started attracting many musicians and was spreading from South America to other parts of the continent. Big bands also came on board, and were very successful. Improvisations were also being made, with additions of ‘bebop’ in the 1930-1940s. It was from then that jazz grew and became what it is today.

Musicians such as Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins took jazz to new levels with their ‘be bop’ craze. Performers now had a chance to showcase their expertise, unlike in the past where they had to follow strict harmonies and chords. A lot of recording took place as musicians tried to compete with each other and show case their unique pieces. A notable recording in the 1950’s was known as ‘Jazz at Massey Hall’. Jazz continued to grow in the 1960’s, and the ‘bebop’ style was now replaced by the free jazz form. Miles Davis was one of the most successful musicians in this new form of jazz music. The compositions and developments of the music during this period helped shape the modern jazz. Other forms of jazz being developed at this time included cool jazz, Latin jazz, jazz- fusion and soul jazz.

In the 80’s and 90’s, free jazz combined the aspects of fusion and neo-classism music. Many musicians during this time would however prefer blending free jazz with classism. As such, sophistication and pluralism characterized the music. Such tendencies have continued to date. It is unfortunate that many jazz musicians led miserable lives and used drugs. Many of them would die out of addictions and related problems. For this fact, people tended to associate the music with many vices. In fact, most of the content in the music reflected the misery and painful experiences of the musicians. People who love jazz music today can enjoy it in clubs, radios, in digital forms. Clearly, Jazz has come a long way.

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