Rise Of Jazz Essay

The Rise of Jazz
Throughout this paper I will take you through some of the different styles and eras of jazz. Such styles as be-bop, cool jazz, dixeland, swing, and fusion emerged define jazz music. Along with these different styles there were important eras that molded jazz music, such eras as the golden ages, and the swing era.

Jazz is a kind of music that has often been called the only art form to originate in the United States. The history of jazz began in the late 1800’s. The music grew from a combination of influences, including black American music, African rhythms, Americans band tradition and instruments, and European harmonies and forms. Much of the best jazz is still written and performed in the United States. But musicians from many other countries are making major contributions to jazz. Jazz was actually widely appreciated as an important art in Europe before it gained such recognition in the United States. What differentiated jazz from these earlier styles was the widespread use of improvisation, often by more than one player at a time. Jazz represented a break from western musical traditions, where the composer wrote a piece of music on paper and the musician then tried their best to play exactly what was on the score. In a Jazz piece, the song is often just a starting point for the musicians to improvise around. Few of the early jazz musicians knew how to read written music although the majority of the musicians did not.
African Americans and Creole musicians in New Orleans played the first jazz music. Charles ?Buddy? Bolden is considered to be the first real jazz musician. His band ? The Bolden Band,? started playing around 1895, in New Orleans parades and dances, they eventually became one of the most popular bands in the city. In 1907 he became very ill and was committed into a mental hospital where he spent the rest of his life. Frankie Dusen, the trombonist of the ?Bolden Band?, took over the band and renamed it the ?Eagle Band? and they were very popular until about 1917.This sound of jazz music was classified as dixieland jazz. From this original style of dixieland jazz many other styles of jazz emerged. One of these new styles that emerged was swing.
Swing is the jazz style that emerged during the early 1930s and emphasized big bands. It spilled into the late 1940s and then remained popular in recordings, film, and television music long after its main proponents had disbanded. Most swing-style groups had at least 10 musicians and featured at least three or four saxophones, two or three trumpets, two or three trombones, piano, guitar, bass violin, and drums. Guitarists, bassists and drummers offered repeating rhythms that were sufficiently simple, buoyant, and lilting to inspire social dancers, the style’s largest audience. Musicians strove for large, rich tone qualities on their instruments. Solo improvisers did not seek intricacy in their lines so much as lyricism and a hot, confident feeling that was rhythmically compelling. For these reasons, the musical period of the 1930s and 1940s has been called the swing era and big-band era. Not all dance music played by big bands of the 1930s and 1940s was jazz. A large segment of the public, however considered almost any lively, syncopated popular music to be jazz.
The BeBop era, 1944-1955, represents for many the most important period in jazz history; several consider it the time when musicians began stressing artistic rather than commercial concerns, put new ways ahead of the old ways, and looked toward the future instead of paying tribute to the past.
Others view bebop as jazz’s ultimate dead end, the style that instituted seriousness and elitism among the fraternity stripped jazz of its connection with dance, and made it impossible for anyone except hard-core collectors, academics, and other musicians to enjoy and appreciate the music. But it’s undeniable jazz changed forever during the bebop years. Cool jazz followed bop but was entirely different in mood, in its approach to arranging, and even in its choices of instrumentation.
In this era, which began in 1947, many instruments were used in jazz for the first time. Softer-sounding instruments, unamplified, created a different mood from that expressed earlier. The G.I. Bill made schooling possible for many jazz players, which encouraged experimentation in jazz that had been previously ignored: new meters, longer forms, and explorations in orchestration. Longer forms were also made possibly by the introduction of long-playing records.
As jazz developed and rock and roll filled its role as America’s popular music, a new crossover began between the two musical styles. This musical crossover eventually became known as fusion in the jazz community beginning around 1965. Jazz began to import rock’s instruments, volume, and stylistic delivery. Like bop, fusion did not occur without controversy. As jazz was establishing its legitimacy, it was taking a risk by fusing with rock. Rock also represented a generational division in the American profile.
Although partly influenced by the great improvisational masters of the past, modern creative continues to forge ahead by combining older jazz. Styles such as bop, free, fusion, combined with newer contemporary musical styles such as pop music, funk, and rock to create many styles with which to present jazz in a new ?modern’ light. Modern jazz makes great use of ?new technologies’ in the form of modern electronic instrumentation and recording devices/mediums to bring compositional and improvisational forms to a new level. Modern creative forms tend to be ?softer’ than earlier bop derivatives while still maintain an edge through the incorporation of more diverse, often ethnic, rhythmic approaches to the music. Coming into light in the mid 80’s and being of a predominately improvisational nature, modern creative is greatly a product of its environment – society. Though the players each have unique voices, society blends them to reflect its ?modern’ sound and feeling.
1. ?JAZZ? World Book Encyclopedia 1992ed.

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2. In Search of Buddy Bolden by Donald M.
Louisiana State University Press, 1978
3. ?Roaring Twenties? World Book Encyclopedia
1992ed. Pg.363-365.

4. www.hotjazz.com


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