The Relation Between Jazz And Race?

by Derick SullivanFebruary 1, 2024

Jazz music has been around for over 100 years, and it’s still going strong. It’s a uniquely American art form born out of African-American communities in the late 19th century. Jazz music is one of America's greatest exports, but many people don't know exactly what it is or how to define it. 

Jazz has always been a music that is at the intersection of race and culture. Jazz is a musical style that originated in African-American communities of New Orleans at the start of the 20th century. The first time many people heard jazz was through records or radio broadcasts.

It was born out of a confluence of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th-century American popular song, ragtime, which developed at about the same time, blues, spirituals, hollers, shouts, and chants. 

The word "jazz" began as a West Coast slang term for sexual intercourse; by 1915, it had begun to mean hot or sexy talk in Chicago's black community. In 1917 it came to mean dancing to jazzy tunes on Broadway in New York City. By 1919 it meant an exciting new music genre with improvisation based on syncopated rhythms rather than arranged melodies. 

Jazz eventually became America's most influential contribution to world culture since World War II ended in 1945. Jazz spread around the world rapidly after Louis Armstrong became famous with his Hot Five band starting in 1925 when he recorded "Potato Head Blues."

He toured Europe several times during this period, mainly playing traditional songs and some originals like "West End Blues," which influenced many musicians there, including Django Reinhardt, who later played with Duke Ellington's orchestra while living in Paris WWII. 
Today jazz is recognized worldwide as an essential part of America's cultural heritage and one of its most significant. To know the origin of jazz music, read this article.

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