Jazz Influence On Jazz

1469 WordsDec 8, 20176 Pages
The Influence of Jazz in Toni Morrison’s Novel Jazz “It is only in his music [ ... ] that the Negro in America has been able to tell his story.” James Baldwin. “Jazz has been a part of a proud African American tradition for over 100 years. A robust, rhythmic under-structure, blue notes, solos, “call-and response” patterns, and improvisation of melody all characterize jazz music.” In Jürgen Grandt’s analysis, he states that in order to use jazz to look at African American literature, the critical model must “avail itself not only of the structural characteristics of the music, but also of the history of the African American musicians who invented, shaped, and innovated it.” (Grandt, P. 14) In other words, “jazz critique” of African…show more content…
The theme is the “basic melody” of the novel. The story of Joe and Violet Trace; Joe’s affair with Dorcas and his murder of Dorcas and then Violet’s ‘violent’ attack of Dorcas’ corpse at her funeral. Like a jazz soloist who improvises on a basic theme, he constantly invents, re-harmonizes, elaborates, digresses, and explores. We can say that she uses jazz music as the base for the novel. The novel is told as if it were performing a jazz arrangement. Henry Louis Gates Jr. states in his review of Jazz “a disembodied narrator slips easily and guilelessly from third-person all-knowingness to first-person lyricism, without ever relaxing its grip upon our imagination.” Morrison mixes music carefully into the novel, differentiating the various emotions, and illustrating how the emotions can be expressed through images. It tells the lives of Violet, Joe, Dorcas, Felice, Sweetness, and others in Harlem, New York. The novel is set in a period nicknamed the ‘Roaring Twenties’, just like the beginnings of the jazz genre. Morrison describes New York City very vividly, just like jazz music does. This technique, which rambles and improvises, plays with the relationships between noises, and contrasts different musical ideas in creative ways. This is the most jazz-like aspect of the novel. Morrison uses Jazz as a way of glorifying African American styles of expression, and imaginative and ethnic creation, as well as forming a new mixture of forms of expression. As with

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