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Jazz Essay

2019 words - 8 pages


Jazz is a very intriguing musical style. Jazz music gives the musician space to improve his/her ideas to the world by using their knowledge of swinging rhythms, scales and chords. I believe that musicians only play jazz for the love of it. Not all jazz musicians become millionaires. Listening to the radio today makes me feel sick to my stomach because I can never hear any new rock band or rap group come up with new and original songs. They either sing about their girlfriend dumping them or they sing about life in the ghetto. Pop musicians, such as the Backstreet Boys or Jessica Simpson, never have any songs that are interesting to listen too either. Jazz was the only form of music beside classical that has instruments tell a story or express human emotion. I always enjoy listening to jazz since I think of jazz as an art form in which musicians are allowed to express their original ideas and opinions to an audience who are always open to new sensations. As I was watching the documentary on the infamous Blue Note recording company, one of the jazz musicians that they interviewed made an interesting comment about the African-American jazz artists in the 1950s-1960s composing songs about their struggle for civil rights. I found that interesting because I never knew that I was listening to instrumental songs about civil rights protesting. I really wanted to do an I-Search paper on jazz, but I decided to research bebop since bebop is an extension of jazz. I wanted to find both bebop's and jazz's roots, so that I could have a better understanding of the jazz musician and his approach to playing bebop.

I found that the best web site about all the jazz styles was the Hyper Music web site since Hyper Music had a lot of information about jazz from ragtime all the way up to fusion. Jazz has been a part of the American culture since the late 1880s. When I was reviewing the Hyper Music site I discovered that Ragtime was the first style of jazz on the scene. Inspired by the African-American pianist/composer Scott Joplin, ragtime was a hit with the White American culture. I also found that after ragtime, there was the blues, including famous artists such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and W. C. Handy, and Dixieland, supporting artists such as Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton ("Bebop" 1). Eventually, around the 1920s there was Big Band music. I found that a big band would consist of ten or more players. In big bands they have sections such as the rhythm section (piano, bass, drums, guitar and vibes), the brass section (trumpets and trombones) and the woodwind section (saxophones and occasionally flutes and clarinets). I located on the Hyper Music site that the popularity of the big bands' music spread throughout all corners of the United States. I also found that every big band in that era had a leader and those leaders were able to create timeless pieces of music which many people enjoy to this day. Two of the most famous Big Band leaders are Duke...

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