History of Jazz Essay examples

Submitted By l3arnm31
Words: 602
Pages: 3

Jazz Music

When one hears the word jazz a few things come to mind such as; Louis Armstrong, saxophones and beatniks. Some might even associate jazz with the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance, but mostly it is associated with black culture. All of these associations about jazz are true, the most important one being that jazz is purely an American made form of music. The influence of jazz comes from African and European cultures put together in the one place where these and many more cultures can exist in the same country, the United States of America. Since jazz is such a melting pot of different instruments and cultural influences, this distinctive form of music has been reinvented over time giving each decade its own voice. Many people believe jazz began in Chicago or Harlem but its origins are actually from New Orleans, Louisiana. Jazz can be traced back to the early 1800’s when the slaves were allowed to gather on Sundays to sing and dance as they pleased. In New Orleans, the slaves gathered in Congo Square and sang along to percussion and string instruments. The whole event came to be known as the “ring shout” dance and took place in many slave states in the south. The slaves who performed this “ring shout” dance in New Orleans however were not restricted by their masters to only sing Protestant church hymns as other slaves were in other states. New Orleans in the 19th century was not only the center of the slave trade in America, but was also the most diverse city in the United States and the world. Not only were there slaves, taken from their home in West Africa, and the French, who established the city in the 18th century, but many other races and European ethnicities. The “Crescent City” was home to Native Americans, Greeks, Albanians, Filipinos, the Irish and Sicilians along with some refugees from Haiti and many other Caribbean and Latin countries. With such a wide range of cultures it is easy to see the influence many of them had on jazz. The combination of African, European, Latin and Caribbean instruments and ways of playing music all helped to make up what we now refer to as jazz music. Beginning in the 1890’s however there were three forms of music which made its way into New Orleans;