As George Foreman once said, “Boxing is like jazz, the better it is, the less people appreciate it.” When it comes to music, many may believe that their favorite genre is underrated, but that isn’t the case with jazz music. Even though there may be no true definition of jazz music because it is subject to opinion, there is no doubt that jazz music influenced many cultures to expand its beauty into an international phenomenon. Originating from southern United States during the 1900’s, this music was not extremely popular when it first started out. Of course with the ever present battle that African Americans had to face when it came to equality, their opinion was not encouraged and they had absolutely no say when it came to their rights. In order to put a stamp on the era and ensure other Americans that they were there to stay, music became an outlet for blacks to freely express themselves although their actions were quite controversial.
To begin, jazz musicians didn’t take what they sang about lightly. Most of the musicians’ aim was to sing about everything that the whites has stereotyped them for and let their voices finally be heard. They did not hesitate to sing about racial, social, and sexual oppression that they received from society. (enotes.com) Music was an alternate universe in a sense; they actually expressed their freedom in music even though society didn’t recognize it until decades later. Not only that, but jazz music was a way for musicians to express themselves without being ignored because in the beginning, jazz music’s primary audience was aimed towards black, and jazz artists wanted people to see their spontaneity. Furthermore, through jazz music, the idea of improvisation quickly picked up, especially with the technique of scatting.
During the height of the 20th century, it was no shock that blacks were barely being treated as humans, let alone able to have a say in society. However, music became a way of fighting back in a sense. The pure social injustice that the blacks had to overcome was no small feat; in fact, the government had to create three separate amendments to the constitution just to allow blacks to obtain citizenship and vote! When it comes to the cultural aspect of jazz music, Africans are usually the ones who are recognized. Before jazz music was created, Africans celebrated in multiple ways through song and dance. Thanks to jazz music, their form of celebrating completely transformed and easily became a past time for not only blacks to enjoy, but eventually the entire world. On the other hand, although it still involved blacks, American culture was involved in the upstart of jazz music. Major American cities including New Orleans, Detroit, New York, Chicago and many more (nationalhumanitiescenter.org). Most of these major cities introduced new ideas of “late-night” entertainment and controversy because of the provocative messages that were conveyed through jazz music. Culturally, jazz music became a revolution, even though its content had been, for the most part, a taboo, and completely changed the music industry for good.
While jazz music did create a new type of music that Americans were not used to, its influence went as far back as the slave days. On plantations, slaves sang spirituals which were at times used as secret codes at churches to help fellow slaves escape by following the North Star (wiki.answers.com). Looking past the musical aspect, World War II influenced musicians when writing their lyrics. After the Second World War, jazz music was more respected as an art form and that transitioned the idea of singing rather than dancing to jazz music.
Just as jazz music was starting to catch on, it appealed to the general public, and even those who couldn’t read music. Unfortunately, most of the education that people received when it came to learning jazz music was available to the wealthy who were able to afford formal education/private