Research of the History of Jazz Essay

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Resulting from the cross-fertilization and Africanization .(and African-Americanization) of West African and West European culture in North America, the formation of jazz became one of the most prominent style of music during the 1800s up until today .(Davis 45). Though the roots of jazz can be traced back to the late 1600s on the plantations in the north and south of the United States, it is clear that the true beginning of jazz evolved from the port city of New Orleans. Though traditional jazz is based on the forms produced in New Orleans, a new style that gained widespread popularity in many regions on the east coast was known commonly as “Swing.” Attributes that swing is known for include organization, varying improvisation, big bands, etc. .(Davis 143). Since this style of jazz became popularized in the 1930s, the genre of music had already come a long way which allowed jazz musicians to improve the faults of traditional jazz in hopes of becoming more successful. Though these faults may have allowed jazz to flourish economically and socio-culturally, it is still key to look back at jazz during its birth in the streets of New Orleans. Though both New Orleans traditional jazz and Swing jazz differed in many ways when compared such as organization and band size, both styles of jazz share multiple aspects such as their influence in jazz today and impact in the development of a historical past time. The birth of jazz can be hardly traced due to its dual nature resulting from the cross-fertilization of West African and West European culture, however many studies have developed a special title for the city of New Orleans as the one and only birthplace of jazz. Known for having one of the biggest seaports in the country, the city of New Orleans’ commercial nature not only allowed jazz to develop more openly but generated traffic and money for innovators and musicians. Following the early 1800s, New Orleans was dominated by both French and Spanish culture however the addition presence of the European and African populations allowed for a unique but connected cultural setting for jazz .(Davis 45). As stated earlier, jazz was originally formed in plantation fields of the north and south of the United States. Passed down through word of mouth and not by sheets of music, the transfer of jazz was unconventional but eventually made its way to the seaport of New Orleans. The mixture of the French military marches, French quadrilles, Spanish folk songs, British folk songs, and indigenous African music all cross-fertilized into what we consider today as the hot-tempered jazz of New Orleans .(Scaruffi 45). An important part of the people of New Orleans were those considered part of the group, “Creoles of Color.” Creole traditionally refers to the people born in Louisiana who had ancestors from elsewhere ie. all natives other than Native Americans; however when used in jazz the term refers to offspring of mixed French, Spanish, and African descent Gioia). Creoles of Color were known for their mixed race which actually didn’t actually dictate them as “colored” because of their European descent. Though their status in society was above those of pure African descent, Creoles of Color still tied in African and European cultural traits. Creoles of Color are a living form of the cross-fertilization formed between the West African and West European populations. In many cases, Creoles were the offspring of wealthy European slave owners who set up separate households and families .(Davis 47). This special exchange of cultures between the “Black, White, and Brown” in New Orleans truly changed the entire lifestyle and culture of the city. Some Creoles of Color were able to inherit the wealthy slave owner lifestyle despite having African blood. Many were well-educated due to their newfound wealth and many often studied in Europe to take on roles such as doctors, lawyers, and even the musicians we talk about today. The important Creoles that