Harlem Renaissance

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In the early 1920's, African Americans were a great part of a cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance. "The New Negro Movement", later known as "The Harlem Renaissance" was an unexpected outburst of creative activity among African-Americans occurred in all fields of art… it caught the country by surprise. The migration of African Americans from the South brought them to Harlem, a New York area. The Harlem Renaissance brought out a lot of musical talent. Singers, musicians, writers, shopkeepers, and painters all played an important role in this cultural inspiration. Jazz, a type of music that was developed a little bit before this movement, was rooted in the musical tradition of American blacks. Most early jazz was played in small marching band or by solo pianists. Around the beginning of the twentieth century, the jazz style was centered in New Orleans. The most influential musician in New Orleans was King Oliver's second trumpeter, Louis Armstrong. Louis Armstrong was considered the "father of all jazz". He was the first major jazz soloist and started out as Joe Oliver's student. He started in New Orleans and his wife, Lillian Harding, convinced him to move to Chicago. Around 1929, Louis Armstrong was unknown among the whites but had a large black audience on the southside of Chicago. Later, he moved to New York so he could expand his crowd and that's exactly what he did. Jazz was originally played in the South but rapidly began spreading to the North starting in Chicago. Along with Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton helped pave the way for Duke Ellington, George Benson, and other talented, successful musicians. African-American women were also a part of this movement. Talented singers such as Billie Holiday, Josephine Baker and Bessie Smith took their place in the jazz field during that time and also dealed with hardships. Although the Harlem Renaissance ended in the 1930s, jazz continued to be a important part and influence in music history.
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