Jazz Music

1079 Words Jul 16th, 2018 5 Pages
The Beginning

The word “jazz” did not become commonplace until around 1920 even though it had spent the preceding decade establishing itself as a musical genre. A mix of European harmony and African rhythm, blended with the current styles of the time such as ragtime and rhythm and blues, Jazz can be seen as an amalgamation of different cultures and has had huge influences on, and evolved concurrently with, American society in the past century. The birthplace of jazz is the subject of much more controversy than its undoubted influence on society. The most commonly reported and, in my view, logical birthplace of jazz is New Orleans. Being a port city (with people migrating from all over the world), it was a melting pot of diverse racial
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The Great Depression that followed was the worst crisis in America since the Civil War. “As the 1930s began, one out of every four wage-earners — more than 15 million men and women — was without work.” (Burns, online). Burns goes on to observe that hard times hit black America hardest. In some northern cities, six out of 10 African-American workers lost their jobs. Like many industries in The Great Depression, the music industry struggled for survival. “American record companies, which were selling more than 100 million records a year throughout the twenties, had now dropped to just six million.” (Burns, online). With this struggle and misery ever so present, people began to look to music as an emotional escape. Musicians needed to play it and the rest of society needed to hear it. The Depression meant that millions of people all over America would now be exposed to the sounds of all kinds of music played by all kinds of people for free. As Burns explains, jazz, which had always thrived in adversity and come to symbolize a certain kind of American freedom, would be called upon to lift the spirits and raise the morale of a frightened country. And in the process, it would begin to break down the barriers that had separated Americans from each other for centuries.

“In the mid-1930s, as the Great Depression stubbornly refused to lift, jazz came as close as it has ever come to being America's popular music.” (Burns, online). Now labeled ‘Swing’ it was a shining

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