Jazz is acknowledged around the globe for its rich cultural legacy entrenched in the African-American experience. Ever since its initiation in the early 20th century; jazz has greatly contributed to the American culture and has been a reflection of American experience and is also extensively believed to be the only truly unique American art form. The mission of Jazz in America is to integrate the teaching and learning of jazz story into every public institution in the country.
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Jazz music reflects the American experience by creating a greater understanding of American culture hence appreciating it. It creates insight into issues such as teamwork, freedom with accountability, harmony with ethnic diversity, correlation of diligence, goal achievement and the American spirit. Its story helps Americans acquire respect for diverse cultural heritage. The basics of jazz extend back in time of slave work songs in the 20th century where there were field bawls, grief songs and spirituals.
The vocal, musical, and harmonious elements of jazz were mainly African. These elements slowly blended, and the earliest music that people now call jazz was played by African-American and Creole bands in New Orleans in the early 20th century (Prouty 151). In its early years, jazz had elements of Rag-time, marching rock band music, and Blues. As years passed, this indigenous-born type of music expression grew into swing, hard bop, cool jazz, fusion, smooth jazz and contemporary.
Actually, the extensive jazz sounds capture the vibrant convolution of the American experience. Similarly, the medium of jazz has been held by musical groups and music funs straddling the world from Europe to Asia to Africa. Jazz is the only true “American” piece of music. It is a blend of African rhythms, with Western influences.
In the present day, jazz is played and listened to by people of all cultures and ethnic groups and comprises of musical elements and styles from all over the globe; jazz has gone from being the music of Americans to being the global music. Jazz was rooted from Africans and grew through the African-American experience in the USA.
Jazz is an American melodic experience that represents America’s ingenuity and their spirit of change. Deeply entrenched in their culture, it has changed perpetually how they hear tone, distinguish rhythm and express themselves creatively and artistically.
The story of jazz reflects the history of America, starting with the mandatory immigration of 11 million Africans to the New World as slaves (Dean 123). Musical traditions entwined in colonial America, European and in Western Africa and every American decade added its own cover of uniqueness to the music.
All through the 20th century, Jazz evolved largely from a single cultural group’s experience. It is a gem brought about by decades of human anguish and a continuing struggle for liberty, self-respect and self-expression. Jazz is a tradition in evolution, having formed by classical, blues, R & B, country, rock, gospel, funk, Latin, African, Far Eastern, pop, folk, rap, and hip hop.
Jazz continues to evolve as an influence and an art-form of modern culture. Jazz was initiated to the post World War I with its export to Europe by martial jazz rock bands consisting of African American military. Ever since, jazz has turned into a soundtrack for our contemporary world. Individuals from every society, religion and ethnicity communicate in the jazz language.
Dean, William. The American Spiritual Culture: And the Invention of Jazz, Football, and the Movies, USA: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006. Print.
Prouty, Ken. Knowing Jazz Community, Pedagogy and Canon in the Information Age, New York: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2011.Print.