Jazz History Essay

904 words - 4 pages

Between 1920 and 1960 jazz and the blues were African-Americans greatest contribution to music. Jazz is a rhythmic syncopated form of music involving brass and woodwind instruments as well as the piano. The blues is melancholic form of music that originated in the rural south with African American folk songs. Both genres of music have a great impact on society today

Besides being the time of economic flourish know as the roaring twenties, America in the 1920's was also a time of musical advancements and the development of modern jazz. Jazz as we know it became popular around 1920 when African American musician Louis Armstrong perfected the solo artist form of jazz. He played many improvised solos were said to be " clear and warm, with an unbelievable sense of swing, with a perfect grasp of harmony, and supremely intelligent and melodic" (Wynton Marsalis). The jazz age as the 1920s was called led to artist such as Louis Armstrong previously mentioned, Jelly Roll Morton; a famous jazz composer and performer who was the first artist to tour America performing jazz, and Duke Ellington another famous composer and artist, all becoming famous. Their sounds and style are still the standard that jazz musicians are compared to today.

With the turn of the century and the time of economic struggle following the roaring struggles , came the Great Depression and a new style of jazz. Swing music as it was called involved a big band of different brass and woodwind instruments a bass player, a guitar player and a piano player. They'd play repetitive high intensity songs that would die out to a solo artist performing then coming back into unison. One reason swing music was said to have gained so much fame during the 1930s is because the Great Depression left people with limited ways of enjoying themselves dancing to up beat swing music was a way to forget about the stress of the rest of life. Some of the famous swing artist of the 30's are Count Basie a well known composer and pianist, Fats Waller another famous pianist and the mentor of Count Basie and, Glenn Miller a trombonist and composer. To this day artist of the 21st century still enjoy and use swing music as part of their repertoire. Country artist George Strait said that " swing is my favorite kind of music." Elements of swing can be found in the music of today all across the board.

The 1940's saw the end of big band jazz. Wartime taxes on entertainment and the draft harmed big band business. Many of the bands were broken apart because of vacancies left by...

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