History of Jazz

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The music of Jazz is said to have been conceived in New Orleans and moved up the Mississippi River to Memphis, St. Louis and finally Chicago. Of course that seems to be the history of what we now refer to as jazz, however, the influences of what led to those early New Orleans sounds goes back to tribal African drum beats and European musical structures.

To Me Jazz is the form of expressing yourself in many different styles and various ways. Jazz is said to be the fundamental rhythms of human life and mans contemporary reassessment of traditional values. Volumes have been written on the origins of jazz based on black African American lifestyles. The early influences of tribal drums and the development of gospel, blues and field hollers seems to point out that jazz has to do with human survival and the expression of life.

The origin of the word "jazz" is most often traced back to vulgar term used for sexual acts. Some of the early sounds of jazz where associated with whore houses and "ladies of bad reputation." However, the meaning of jazz soon became a musical art form, whether under composition guidelines or improvisation, jazz reflected spontaneous melodic phrasing.

Jazz functions as popular art and has enjoyed periods of fairly widespread public response, in the "jazz age" of the 1920s, in the swing era of the late 1930s and in the peak popularity of modern jazz in the late 1950s. Beginning in the 20s and continuing well into the 30s, it was common to apply the word "jazz" rather indiscriminately, melodically or tonally. Thus George Gershwin was called a jazz composer. For Gershwin's concert work he was acclaimed to have made a respectable art form out of jazz. Somewhat similarly, Paul Whiteman, playing jazz-influenced dance music, was billed as the King of Jazz. Perhaps the broader definition of jazz, such as the one that would include the blues influence as well as those who shared our understanding of the art form, even if they did not perform it,...
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