jazz - John Stanton Music History II Term Paper A History...

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John Stanton Music History II Term Paper December 14, 2007 A History of Jazz In the early 1800’s, slaves were being brought to the United States from Africa to work for white Americans . Little did the slave owners know, these Africans would help form one of the most entertaining genres of music in the world today, jazz. The songs and music that the Africans performed during festivals in New Orleans, New England, and New York was the basis for the beginning of jazz music. In the mid 1890’s, ragtime became the first genre of jazz music to become popular. Composers and musicians such as William H. Krell, Scott Joplin, and W.C. Handy began to create ragtime music and provide the standards for jazz. They used a specific rhythm with a unique accompaniment and a melody, which contained some improvisation, with steady syncopation.(Collier 26) By the early 1900’s jazz was becoming more popular, especially in New Orleans. Many African American jazz musicians performed at bars, brothels, and funerals, among other things, in Storyville, New Orleans. These performers used brass and reed instruments, which were used in dance bands and marching bands. The jazz bands at this time were primarily composed of self-taught African Americans in the Deep South. (Collier 34) These bands would travel throughout the south to play their music, which was becoming more and more popular. This led the bands to play in more places, such as the north and the west.
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The African American jazz musicians were very happy about the success their music was having. They were very happy for many reasons. For the African Americans, playing jazz music was an escape from the racism and segregation problems that they were facing every day. Another reason they loved playing jazz music was because it allowed them to play music in which they could improvise. Improvisation gave these musicians a personalized, individualized, and distinct feel. While these musicians were happy playing music, they were also making the listeners happy by playing a style of music that they have never heard. One of the musicians having a great impact on music and listeners at this time was Jelly Roll Morton. In 1905, Morton composed “Jelly Roll Blues”, which later became the first published jazz collection.(Scaruffi 13) This acted as a gateway for jazz music, allowing for more people to listen to this genre of music, making it more popular amongst people all over the country. In the 1910’s, after Jelly Roll Morton published his “Jelly Roll Blues”, others such as James Reese, James P. Johnson, and W.C. Handy began to make recordings of more and more jazz music. The 1920’s were a crucial period in the history of jazz. By the late twenties, improvisation was becoming a huge factor in jazz music. It was in this decade where jazz musicians were becoming mainstream artists. These artists would change jazz forever, changing the sounds and forms forever. The most popular jazz artist at this time was an unforgettable one, Louis
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jazz - John Stanton Music History II Term Paper A History...

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