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History of Jazz Music Research Paper


Music has multipurpose, which range from entertainment, aesthetic value, and symbol to communication. Since ancient time different genres of music, musical instruments and musicians have evolved. Music genres such as classics, rock, soul, and jazz have undergone considerable growth and development throughout the history.

Consequently, a number of personalities contributed to the growth of music. On the other hand, the development or emergence of diverse musical instruments like guitar, saxophone, flutes, and drums among others are the key to composition of diverse or good music. For instance, America is the home for jazz where it represented not only the diverse culture but also the personality and lifestyle of the Americans. Famous jazz musicians like Lucas Armstrong were among the men behind the development of jazz.

Due to its popularity and advancement, jazz is expanding in all directions of music, from dancing styles to individual artist style. The emergence of recording studios, cultural festivities led to the development, high spread, and awareness of jazz music in Europe.

Due to the unification of different states, America enjoys a diverse culture, which is the basis for the growth of jazz in the world (Feather 5).

Jazz was originally common in bars but the dynamicity of cultures and languages has made it pave its way into clubs, schools/university halls, during concerts or festive celebrations. Similarly, the jazz music is evolving in line with the changing culture; each generation slowly contributes to its growth. According to Merriam, jazz music has led to the stability and integration of societal cultures (7).

Due to the effect of jazz, racial discrimination declined as both the blacks and white could form a single band thus promoting unity. States like New Orleans, Louisiana are the main cities where jazz originated because people usually converged in the two cities to present the diverse music genres.

For instance, Classical music from Europe and blues from south America or America led to the birth of jazz as a genre of music. Unfortunately, the word jazz is yet to trace its roots or originality. Therefore, jazz is a collection of different genres of music from America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Different people led to the development and growth of jazz music. Louis Armstrong is the father of jazz music that is in the current music industry (Haskins 8). Born in 1911, Louis was not only artistic but also talented, a fact that made him to outshine his competitors.

He slowly changed his music instrument from a cornet to a trumpet player, which is currently the basic tool in jazz music. He was perfect and sophisticated attracting large crowds during his music tours in New York, Chicago, and Illinois among other cities in the United States.

Due to his talent, he was a singer with excellent trumpeting skills, a bandleader, and a music composer during the twentieth century. Although he died about two decades ago, his legacy still lives because all jazz musicians look up to his skills for best results. As the godfather of jazz music, currently the famous jazz musicians like Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie look up to him as a source of inspiration.

Others like Ella Fitzgerald consider him as the source of their creativity especially when composing, writing or singing jazz music. Therefore, the growth of jazz music cannot end without the consideration of the ancient famous jazz musician, Louis Armstrong.

The major instrument that must accompany musicians while playing jazz music is the trumpet. The historical jazz players include Clifford Brown, Jon Faddis, Harry James and Wallace Rooney -the list is endless (Tarr 25). Nevertheless, the emergence of instruments like saxophone and techniques like music recording, phonograph, and record player promoted the growth of jazz music.

Additionally, the discovery of entertainment facilities like the radio stations promoted the popularity of the music worldwide. To promote their music, the jazz musicians formed band, which performed during cultural festival or in dance halls. On the other hand, the emergence of other instruments like drums has led to the distinction of jazz music (Fordham 1).

Therefore, every musician incorporates his/her instruments, tactics, and culture to suit her/his audience. Consequently, the music industry, categorizes the jazz music as classical jazz, rock jazz or Latin jazz among others. Rock jazz combines rock stars and jazz musicians while Latin jazz traces its origin for Latin America. Therefore, as the jazz music continues to spread so does the sub-genres.

The development of jazz language, orchestrations, and formation of bands widely contributed to the growth of jazz music. The bands opened door for musicians to try out and improvise new performing techniques.

Bebop is one of the ancient styles that came into existence due to the intellectual level of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker; the two were talented trumpeter and saxophonist respectively (Fordham 20). The development of big bands, which led to the evolution of Bebop, stabilized the jazz music. Consequently, swing style emerged from the big ands.

The swing singing and dancing style was a symbol of peace in a person’s mind. The technique originated from formation of orchestras whereby a variety of instruments like piano, trumpet, saxophone, and trombone among others led to the cultivation of a single rhythm. Usually the instruments are in groups of two, three, and four and so on to produce a specific rhythm.

The swing style pioneered the development of other styles, which differ for each artist. Currently, each of the jazz musicians has a unique style that identifies him or her. The commemoration of the Charlie Parker in Kansas has led to the rebirth of swing dance but integrated with the modern dance styles and advanced musical instruments.

Scat is the main language that led to the growth of jazz music. The historical vocalists like Sarah Vaughn with the band singers had to mimic vocals or the sounds of the instruments like the trumpets, drums, and piano among others. By 1940, a new style like “Boogie woogie” developed to increase the music rhythm (Feather 10).

In 1950, jazz music became “rock and roll music” but in the twenty first century, every country or an artist embraces its individual style (Haskins 15). Currently, America holds the highest number of jazz vocals in the world owing to the fact that it is the origin of the music.

Before Jazz music became popular, the artists and fans of the music especially American experienced many challenges. There was racial discrimination, emergence of rock music and the closure of many clubs to curb alcoholism and smoking. For instance, after gaining much fame in 1940s, the evolution of rock music in 1960 diverted people’s attention from jazz to rock. Sadly, most of the nightclubs, radio stations, and music recorders concentrated on rock music.

Some of the bars and night clubs denied the jazz musician a chance to perform therefore destabilizing the music. When the jazz music was beginning to come into the limelight, the United States government banned smoking and drinking in clubs. Thus, the jazz musicians could not perform because the law enforcers were on the look out to arrest anybody found in the clubs or prohibited places.

The prohibition led to the slow growth of jazz music as people could not freely converge to attend a music concert in the bars. Additionally, the musicians had to perform in clubs, which were located underground with concealed identity. Regrettably, racial discrimination was dominant in the twentieth century.

The black people could not collaborate with the white people therefore hindering the growth of the music. Due to the inability to collaborate, talents from different races went unnoticed. In 1950, the popularity of jazz music slowly killed the racial issue, which saw the formation of interracial bands.

The collaboration of Benn Goodman and Teddy Wilson was the first interaction between black and white. After sometime, there very many interracial bands or groups and the individuals had a chance to learn diverse skills from each other leading to the growth of jazz music.

In the contemporary world, jazz music is common in schools, universities, discos and all other social places. Schools, which teach jazz dance and vocals, are everywhere while individuals have specialized in jazz music at different capacities such as teachers or musicians, which enable them to earn a living.

The music industry has developed modern instruments like trumpets, drums and brass, which accelerates the growth of the music. Some musicians have transformed the music by incorporating in beats while others have adopted their orchestra in form of cinemas. To spice up the music, the pop stars like Amy Winehouse and the late Michael Jackson combined pop and jazz, which is successful in America.

Additionally, the gospel lovers are incorporating jazz style in the music leading to its spread. Although there were fears for the extinction of the old jazz music styles, current artists usually incorporate the ancient styles into the modern styles therefore balancing the two.

Finally, in the modern times jazz music has promoted peace, unity, and love among different countries. In addition, people from different culture come together to learn, accept, compare, and appreciate the cultural diversities in the modern world though jazz music.

In summary, music is a subject in the world that has enabled people to live in harmony. Development of musical instruments like guitar, saxophone, piano, and tambourine among others led to the evolution music genres like jazz. Historically, jazz originated from America especially in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1930s.

Cultural diversity due to slavery is the main factor, which engineered the evolution of jazz. Louis Armstrong is the core founder of jazz; he artistically played the trumpet raising him to the level of a celebrity. The current jazz musicians consider him as an inspiration and mentor to the jazz music.

Through the formation of bands and collaboration of people with different talents, jazz music rose to international levels. Although the growth slowed due to obstacles like racial segregation, jazz music has spread in all social places in the modern world. The music promotes unity because it enhances interaction of people from all over the world.

Works Cited

Feather, Leonard. The Jazz Years: Earwitness to an Era. New York: Da Capo Press, 1987.

Fordham, John. Jazz. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1993.

Haskins, James. Black Music in America: A History through Its People. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1987.

Merriam, Alan. The anthropology of music. United States: Northwestern university press, 1964.

Tarr, Edward. The Trumpet. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press, 1988.

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