This blog is about trying out new things, in particular exploring new music. Taking a History of Jazz course has given me the chance to discover new artists, and appreciate their stories found between the notes. Jazz receives much of its influence from the Blues.
Blues was born in the South. This distinct genre expressed the African American sentiment of pain, love, and injustice. Slaves developed this music form through work songs, field hollers, and hymns. African Americans endured much hardship throughout their lives, yet through this adversity they developed soulful musicality. Blues is the foundation of Jazz as well as the prime source of rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and country music.
Jazz shot out from New Orleans, the source of transculturation. New Orleans, the melting pot of sound, had a great tradition of celebration. This city was the epitome of entertainment it included: opera, military marching bands, folk music, blues, church music, ragtime, echoes of traditional African drumming, and dance styles. When all of these kinds of music blended into one, jazz was born.
Louis Armstrong, an inspiring Jazz original, shaped much of what we know Jazz to be today. “Through his clear, warm sound, unbelievable sense of swing, perfect grasp of harmony, and supremely intelligent and melodic improvisations, he taught us all to play jazz.”- Wynton Marsalis. Jazz has the ability to express freedom through improvisation. This defining feature shows how raw and authentic Jazz can be.
So whether you’re jamming to Fred McDowell’s Delta Blues, Luis Armstrong’s Early Jazz, or Ma Rainey’s Classic Blues note how this music form possess the ability to relate to anyone and anything. As you experience fall this year, experience new music. Who knows, you many find a new interest in Jazz and the rich history it has to offer!