Jazz and Swing Era

Topics: Jazz, Louis Armstrong, Swing music Pages: 4 (1429 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Jazz

Jazz is a type of music developed by black Americans about 1900 and possessing an identifiable history and describable
stylistic evolution. It is rooted in the mingled musical traditions of American blacks. More black musicians saw jazz for the first time a profession. Since its beginnings jazz has branched out into so many styles that no single description fits all of them with total accuracy. Performers of jazz improvise within the conventions of their chosen style. Improvisation gave jazz a personalized, individualized, and distinct feel. Most jazz is based on the principle that an infinite number of melodies can fit the cord progressively of any cord. The twenties were a crucial period in the history of music. Revolutions, whether in arts or matter of state, create a new world only by sacrificing the old. By the late twenties, improvisation had expanded to the extent of improvisation we ordinarily expect from jazz today. It was the roaring twenties that a group of new tonalities entered the mainstream, fixing the sound and the forms of our popular music for the next thirty years. Louie Armstrong closed the book on the dynastic tradition in New Orleans jazz.

The first true virtuoso soloist of jazz, Louie Armstrong was a dazzling improviser, technically, emotionally, and intellectually. Armstrong, often called the "father of jazz," always spoke with deference, bordering on awe, of his musical roots, and with especial devotion of his mentor Joe Oliver. He changed the format of jazz by bringing the soloist to the forefront, and in his recording groups, the Hot Five and the Hot seven, demonstrated that jazz improvisation could go far beyond simply ornamenting the melody. Armstrong was one of the first jazz musicians to refine a rhythmic conception that abandoned the stiffness of ragtime, employed swing light-note patterns, and he used a technique called "rhythmic displacement." Rhythmic displacement was...
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