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History and Development of Jazz

New Orleans, Louisiana is the birthplace of jazz. It is an electric, vibrant city. Jazz music shapes and defines New Orleans. New Orleans is the home of many great jazz musicians; Louis Armstrong, BB King, Miles Davis, Sidney Bayshaw, Paul Whiteman, Artie Shaw and many other greats. Since the 1800’s, New Orleans is the place for musicians and music lovers to be. Today, there are continuing music festivals, street performances, concerts music talent contest. This city needs no excuses for music celebrations. Music is part of everyone’s everyday life in New Orleans.

Parades, funerals, weddings, birthday parties, and nearly every event are accompanied by some type of music in the crescent city. The recent Blues Brothers 2000 is a movie about New Orleans Jazz. Big band, ragtime, blues, and classical precedes the jazz genre. Jazz music was created when talented musicians who could not read music notes experimented with wind instruments. Wind instruments are musical instruments that are played by blowing into them. Early jazz musicians looked at music theory as a waste of time. They looked at reading in general as a waste of time.

One of jazz’s most influential musicians dropped out of school at age 11 to play music. That was Louis Armstrong. Very little beginning jazz music was written down. Miles Davis is the artist who started the tradition of writing jazz music. Original jazz music is big band, ragtime, bebop, blues and classical music all combined into one synchronized music setting. Early Jazz Influences Big Bands, Ragtime, blues, classical, blues, swing, be-bop, hard- bop are all influences of jazz music. Harmony and improve are jazz music originals. Jazz music consists of three types of blues; City; Country; Modern.

Harmony and improve make up jazz music. “The jazz musician will play the melody, and from then on, new melodies are created” (Boyd, P 160). Jazz music swings. All music influences the emotions or visual aspects, not the intellect. Many trends, fashions, hairstyles, cosmetic surgery procedures are influenced by music videos. Jazz music originals are famous for moving people to dance. It took the classical piano and developed it into a jazzy, swinging rhythm. Wallar and Johnson developed ragtime in the twenties. Ragtime is defined as stride piano.

“Ragging meant taking a popular or classical melody, and playing it in a syncopated style” (Yudkin P 288). Traditionally, dancing to music played by piano, is exclusive to ballet dancers. Creative jazz musicians gave piano styles zest and upbeat rhythms. Big bands are another jazz original. Big bands added percussion instruments to existing jazz music. Percussions are instruments that strike, shake or rattle in a continuing structured rhythm. Anyone who have ever heard of the even, distinctive beats of Indian music or African drumming experienced the elite musicians playing percussion instruments.

Blues is the backbone of big band music, eventually leading into musical theatre. Blues is everything jazz music is with the addition of string instruments. String instruments consist of a guitar, banjo or violin. BB king was a famous blues singer. Blues is an African American original contribution. Today, there are many great artists singing and winning awards for rhythm and blues. George Michael, Michael Jackson, and many other traditional pop stars are known for singing rhythm and blues. Musical theatre is composed of blues music, such as the original and remake of Chicago.

Dixieland Jazz is another musical influence. “The main melody is played by the trumpet, while the clarinet weaves a high melody into it” (Yudkin, P 292). Dixieland jazz is recognizable because of its constant weaving in and out, and accenting different instruments at different times. Today, recording artists accent different instruments. Musicians accented instruments long before mixing boards were invented. Some instruments do not sound good without accompaniment. It depends on instruments that provide melodies to carry the musical tune. For this reason, Dixie land jazz was created.

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