The term dixieland has come to refer this style of

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Unformatted text preview: orsey and Benny Goodman, who brought jazz to mainstream America in the first radio and television broadcasts of jazz ensembles. While there is truth to these various events, connections and shared attributes, it is a gross distortion of history to deny that jazz has anything but clear African American origins. The term “jazz” itself was a slang word for sexual intercourse, which has been traced back to the coast of West Africa.15 The music that began to be called “jazz” sometime after the turn of the century was developed by African Americans following emancipation, drawing most strongly on the slave musical traditions that had evolved into the styles of ragtime and the blues. The incorporation of European harmonic materials came through the influence of the New Orleans Creoles of Color, individuals of shared African and European lineage. Hence even the European 15The Oxford English Dictionary (Volume VIII, 1989) says that the first reference to the word was in 1909, and in 1917 it was found that the word was African in origin and common on the Gold Coast of Africa. A later reference, in 1937, suggested that the word was from “Negro patois” meaning to excite in an erotic way, and in 1950, it was traced again to the West Coast of Africa where it meant to “hurry up.” An alternative suggestion from 1925 stated that the word had originated as a shortened version of the name of an African American itinerant musician called Jasbo Brown. 30 Crossroads: Music of American Cultures (Barkley) Kendall Hunt Publishers, 2013 harmonic practices came to jazz through “black” musicians. Although the ex- slaves played European instruments, they played them in a highly Africanized manner. Even more importantly, the music itself had (and has retained) a clear link to African music traditions in that jazz is at its essence improvised. The earliest documented jazz style, New Orleans jazz, was collective improvisation. This emphasis on improvisation has remained throughout all of the subsequent stages of jazz development. As we have seen in previous chapters on African American music, improvisation (the spontaneous creation of music rather than the performance of music that is re- created from directions provided by music notation) is one of the most important character...
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This document was uploaded on 02/16/2014.

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