Jazz is a genre of music developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The genre originated from the African-American communities in New Orleans, Louisiana. With roots from ragtime and blues, this has become popular in the 1920’s. This is when the Jazz Age started, where jazz music becomes recognized in the United States and even overseas. It has been since recognized as one of the major forms of musical expression.
The genre of jazz is characterized by a mixture of European classical music and blues melodies. Syncopation is also a major characteristic of jazz, and from that, many other genres sprung. They also made use of blue and swing notes in order to express emotion in every melody played. The arrangement of jazz pieces includes the use of instruments such as trumpet, saxophone, contrabass, piano, guitar, and a drum kit.
One of the key characteristics of jazz is improvisation, and one of the proponents of this style of playing music is Louis Armstrong. He is born on August 4, 1901, and became one of the most influential jazz musicians of his time. He learned how to play the cornet at an early age of 13, and he is also a great singer and composer. At the time when he started playing, Dixieland, also called traditional jazz was the prominent style of jazz played where everyone played a solo at once. He introduced the idea of soloing during breaks, and it became the norm ever since.
The “swing” feel became a key factor of lifting the people’s spirits up during the Great Depression. In the mid-1930s, Paul Whiteman, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and other jazz musicians and bandleaders led the swing era. Duke Ellington is one of the most influential figures in this era and in music history as a whole. He popularized the big band sound, and this is the most important aspect of the swing era where people danced to the music. Other popular styles during this era include Gypsy jazz and Kansas City jazz.
In the 1940s, jazz musicians started to experiment with this kind of music. A new style emerged, called bebop. This style is characterized by fast tempos and complex harmonies that challenged musicians to step up their skill and musicality. This style of jazz also featured small groups that perform mainly to a listening audience, as opposed to the swing era where people danced to the tune of the music. Dizzy Gillespie, along with Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk developed the bebop sound.
The influence of these styles carried over to the next era of jazz musicians and resulted in an explosion of other styles and fusions with existing genres. Jazz has become one of the most iconic genres of music rich in historical value, cultural heritage, and musical merit.