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Musical style, genre, and theory

Top 10 Jazz related articles

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime.[1][2][3] Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognized as a major form of musical expression in traditional and popular music, linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage.[4] Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, complex chords, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions.[5][6]

As jazz spread around the world, it drew on national, regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to different styles. New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s, combining earlier brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation. In the 1930s, heavily arranged dance-oriented swing big bands, Kansas City jazz, a hard-swinging, bluesy, improvisational style and Gypsy jazz (a style that emphasized musette waltzes) were the prominent styles. Bebop emerged in the 1940s, shifting jazz from danceable popular music toward a more challenging "musician's music" which was played at faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation. Cool jazz developed near the end of the 1940s, introducing calmer, smoother sounds and long, linear melodic lines.

The mid-1950s saw the emergence of hard bop, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano playing. Modal jazz developed in the late 1950s, using the mode, or musical scale, as the basis of musical structure and improvisation, as did free jazz, which explored playing without regular meter, beat and formal structures. Jazz-rock fusion appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s, combining jazz improvisation with rock music's rhythms, electric instruments, and highly amplified stage sound. In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called smooth jazz became successful, garnering significant radio airplay. Other styles and genres abound in the 2000s, such as Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz.

Jazz Intro articles: 31

Etymology and definition

American jazz composer, lyricist, and pianist Eubie Blake made an early contribution to the genre's etymology

The origin of the word jazz has resulted in considerable research, and its history is well documented. It is believed to be related to jasm, a slang term dating back to 1860 meaning "pep, energy".[7] The earliest written record of the word is in a 1912 article in the Los Angeles Times in which a minor league baseball pitcher described a pitch which he called a "jazz ball" "because it wobbles and you simply can't do anything with it".[7]

The use of the word in a musical context was documented as early as 1915 in the Chicago Daily Tribune.[8] Its first documented use in a musical context in New Orleans was in a November 14, 1916, Times-Picayune article about "jas bands".[9] In an interview with National Public Radio, musician Eubie Blake offered his recollections of the slang connotations of the term, saying: "When Broadway picked it up, they called it 'J-A-Z-Z'. It wasn't called that. It was spelled 'J-A-S-S'. That was dirty, and if you knew what it was, you wouldn't say it in front of ladies."[10] The American Dialect Society named it the Word of the 20th Century.[11]

Albert Gleizes, 1915, Composition for "Jazz" from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Jazz is difficult to define because it encompasses a wide range of music spanning a period of over 100 years, from ragtime to the rock-infused fusion. Attempts have been made to define jazz from the perspective of other musical traditions, such as European music history or African music. But critic Joachim-Ernst Berendt argues that its terms of reference and its definition should be broader,[12] defining jazz as a "form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of the Negro with European music"[13] and arguing that it differs from European music in that jazz has a "special relationship to time defined as 'swing'". Jazz involves "a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role" and contains a "sonority and manner of phrasing which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician".[12] In the opinion of Robert Christgau, "most of us would say that inventing meaning while letting loose is the essence and promise of jazz".[14]

A broader definition that encompasses different eras of jazz has been proposed by Travis Jackson: "it is music that includes qualities such as swing, improvising, group interaction, developing an 'individual voice', and being open to different musical possibilities".[15] Krin Gibbard argued that "jazz is a construct" which designates "a number of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent tradition".[16] In contrast to commentators who have argued for excluding types of jazz, musicians are sometimes reluctant to define the music they play. Duke Ellington, one of jazz's most famous figures, said, "It's all music."[17]

Jazz Etymology and definition articles: 11

Elements and issues


Although jazz is considered difficult to define, in part because it contains many subgenres, improvisation is one of its defining elements. The centrality of improvisation is attributed to the influence of earlier forms of music such as blues, a form of folk music which arose in part from the work songs and field hollers of African-American slaves on plantations. These work songs were commonly structured around a repetitive call-and-response pattern, but early blues was also improvisational. Classical music performance is evaluated more by its fidelity to the musical score, with less attention given to interpretation, ornamentation, and accompaniment. The classical performer's goal is to play the composition as it was written. In contrast, jazz is often characterized by the product of interaction and collaboration, placing less value on the contribution of the composer, if there is one, and more on the performer.[18] The jazz performer interprets a tune in individual ways, never playing the same composition twice. Depending on the performer's mood, experience, and interaction with band members or audience members, the performer may change melodies, harmonies, and time signatures.[19]

In early Dixieland, a.k.a. New Orleans jazz, performers took turns playing melodies and improvising countermelodies. In the swing era of the 1920s–'40s, big bands relied more on arrangements which were written or learned by ear and memorized. Soloists improvised within these arrangements. In the bebop era of the 1940s, big bands gave way to small groups and minimal arrangements in which the melody was stated briefly at the beginning and most of the piece was improvised. Modal jazz abandoned chord progressions to allow musicians to improvise even more. In many forms of jazz, a soloist is supported by a rhythm section of one or more chordal instruments (piano, guitar), double bass, and drums. The rhythm section plays chords and rhythms that outline the composition structure and complement the soloist.[20] In avant-garde and free jazz, the separation of soloist and band is reduced, and there is license, or even a requirement, for the abandoning of chords, scales, and meters.


Since the emergence of bebop, forms of jazz that are commercially oriented or influenced by popular music have been criticized. According to Bruce Johnson, there has always been a "tension between jazz as a commercial music and an art form".[15] Traditional jazz enthusiasts have dismissed bebop, free jazz, and jazz fusion as forms of debasement and betrayal. An alternative view is that jazz can absorb and transform diverse musical styles.[21] By avoiding the creation of norms, jazz allows avant-garde styles to emerge.[15]

Jazz and race

For some African Americans, jazz has drawn attention to African-American contributions to culture and history. For others, jazz is a reminder of "an oppressive and racist society and restrictions on their artistic visions".[22] Amiri Baraka argues that there is a "white jazz" genre that expresses whiteness.[23] White jazz musicians appeared in the midwest and in other areas throughout the U.S. Papa Jack Laine, who ran the Reliance band in New Orleans in the 1910s, was called "the father of white jazz".[24] The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, whose members were white, were the first jazz group to record, and Bix Beiderbecke was one of the most prominent jazz soloists of the 1920s.[25] The Chicago Style was developed by white musicians such as Eddie Condon, Bud Freeman, Jimmy McPartland, and Dave Tough. Others from Chicago such as Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa became leading members of swing during the 1930s.[26] Many bands included both black and white musicians. These musicians helped change attitudes toward race in the U.S.[27]

Roles of women

Female jazz performers and composers have contributed to jazz throughout its history. Although Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Adelaide Hall, Billie Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Anita O'Day, Dinah Washington, and Ethel Waters were recognized for their vocal talent, less familiar were bandleaders, composers, and instrumentalists such as pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong, trumpeter Valaida Snow, and songwriters Irene Higginbotham and Dorothy Fields. Women began playing instruments in jazz in the early 1920s, drawing particular recognition on piano.[28]

When male jazz musicians were drafted during World War II, many all-female bands replaced them.[28] The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, which was founded in 1937, was a popular band that became the first all-female integrated band in the U.S. and the first to travel with the USO, touring Europe in 1945. Women were members of the big bands of Woody Herman and Gerald Wilson. Beginning in the 1950s, many women jazz instrumentalists were prominent, some sustaining long careers. Some of the most distinctive improvisers, composers, and bandleaders in jazz have been women.[29] Trombonist Melba Liston is acknowledged as the first female horn player to work in major bands and to make a real impact on jazz, not only as a musician but also as a respected composer and arranger, particularly through her collaborations with Randy Weston from the late 1950s into the 1990s.[30][31]

Jazz Elements and issues articles: 45

Origins and early history

Jazz originated in the late-19th to early-20th century as interpretations of American and European classical music entwined with African and slave folk songs and the influences of West African culture.[32] Its composition and style have changed many times throughout the years with each performer's personal interpretation and improvisation, which is also one of the greatest appeals of the genre.[33]

Blended African and European music sensibilities

Dance in Congo Square in the late 1700s, artist's conception by E. W. Kemble from a century later
In the late 18th-century painting The Old Plantation, African-Americans dance to banjo and percussion.

By the 18th century, slaves in the New Orleans area gathered socially at a special market, in an area which later became known as Congo Square, famous for its African dances.[34]

By 1866, the Atlantic slave trade had brought nearly 400,000 Africans to North America.[35] The slaves came largely from West Africa and the greater Congo River basin and brought strong musical traditions with them.[36] The African traditions primarily use a single-line melody and call-and-response pattern, and the rhythms have a counter-metric structure and reflect African speech patterns.[37]

An 1885 account says that they were making strange music (Creole) on an equally strange variety of 'instruments'—washboards, washtubs, jugs, boxes beaten with sticks or bones and a drum made by stretching skin over a flour-barrel.[3][38]

Lavish festivals with African-based dances to drums were organized on Sundays at Place Congo, or Congo Square, in New Orleans until 1843.[39] There are historical accounts of other music and dance gatherings elsewhere in the southern United States. Robert Palmer said of percussive slave music:

Usually such music was associated with annual festivals, when the year's crop was harvested and several days were set aside for celebration. As late as 1861, a traveler in North Carolina saw dancers dressed in costumes that included horned headdresses and cow tails and heard music provided by a sheepskin-covered "gumbo box", apparently a frame drum; triangles and jawbones furnished the auxiliary percussion. There are quite a few [accounts] from the southeastern states and Louisiana dating from the period 1820–1850. Some of the earliest [Mississippi] Delta settlers came from the vicinity of New Orleans, where drumming was never actively discouraged for very long and homemade drums were used to accompany public dancing until the outbreak of the Civil War.[40]

Another influence came from the harmonic style of hymns of the church, which black slaves had learned and incorporated into their own music as spirituals.[41] The origins of the blues are undocumented, though they can be seen as the secular counterpart of the spirituals. However, as Gerhard Kubik points out, whereas the spirituals are homophonic, rural blues and early jazz "was largely based on concepts of heterophony."[42]

The blackface Virginia Minstrels in 1843, featuring tambourine, fiddle, banjo and bones

During the early 19th century an increasing number of black musicians learned to play European instruments, particularly the violin, which they used to parody European dance music in their own cakewalk dances. In turn, European-American minstrel show performers in blackface popularized the music internationally, combining syncopation with European harmonic accompaniment. In the mid-1800s the white New Orleans composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk adapted slave rhythms and melodies from Cuba and other Caribbean islands into piano salon music. New Orleans was the main nexus between the Afro-Caribbean and African-American cultures.

African rhythmic retention

The Black Codes outlawed drumming by slaves, which meant that African drumming traditions were not preserved in North America, unlike in Cuba, Haiti, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. African-based rhythmic patterns were retained in the United States in large part through "body rhythms" such as stomping, clapping, and patting juba dancing.[43]

In the opinion of jazz historian Ernest Borneman, what preceded New Orleans jazz before 1890 was "Afro-Latin music", similar to what was played in the Caribbean at the time.[44] A three-stroke pattern known in Cuban music as tresillo is a fundamental rhythmic figure heard in many different slave musics of the Caribbean, as well as the Afro-Caribbean folk dances performed in New Orleans Congo Square and Gottschalk's compositions (for example "Souvenirs From Havana" (1859)). Tresillo (shown below) is the most basic and most prevalent duple-pulse rhythmic cell in sub-Saharan African music traditions and the music of the African Diaspora.[45][46]

Tresillo is heard prominently in New Orleans second line music and in other forms of popular music from that city from the turn of the 20th century to present.[47] "By and large the simpler African rhythmic patterns survived in jazz ... because they could be adapted more readily to European rhythmic conceptions," jazz historian Gunther Schuller observed. "Some survived, others were discarded as the Europeanization progressed."[48]

In the post-Civil War period (after 1865), African Americans were able to obtain surplus military bass drums, snare drums and fifes, and an original African-American drum and fife music emerged, featuring tresillo and related syncopated rhythmic figures.[49] This was a drumming tradition that was distinct from its Caribbean counterparts, expressing a uniquely African-American sensibility. "The snare and bass drummers played syncopated cross-rhythms," observed the writer Robert Palmer, speculating that "this tradition must have dated back to the latter half of the nineteenth century, and it could have not have developed in the first place if there hadn't been a reservoir of polyrhythmic sophistication in the culture it nurtured."[43]

Afro-Cuban influence

African-American music began incorporating Afro-Cuban rhythmic motifs in the 19th century when the habanera (Cuban contradanza) gained international popularity.[50] Musicians from Havana and New Orleans would take the twice-daily ferry between both cities to perform, and the habanera quickly took root in the musically fertile Crescent City. John Storm Roberts states that the musical genre habanera "reached the U.S. twenty years before the first rag was published."[51] For the more than quarter-century in which the cakewalk, ragtime, and proto-jazz were forming and developing, the habanera was a consistent part of African-American popular music.[51]

Habaneras were widely available as sheet music and were the first written music which was rhythmically based on an African motif (1803).[52] From the perspective of African-American music, the "habanera rhythm" (also known as "congo"),[52] "tango-congo",[53] or tango.[54] can be thought of as a combination of tresillo and the backbeat.[55] The habanera was the first of many Cuban music genres which enjoyed periods of popularity in the United States and reinforced and inspired the use of tresillo-based rhythms in African-American music.

New Orleans native Louis Moreau Gottschalk's piano piece "Ojos Criollos (Danse Cubaine)" (1860) was influenced by the composer's studies in Cuba: the habanera rhythm is clearly heard in the left hand.[45]:125 In Gottschalk's symphonic work "A Night in the Tropics" (1859), the tresillo variant cinquillo appears extensively.[56] The figure was later used by Scott Joplin and other ragtime composers.

Comparing the music of New Orleans with the music of Cuba, Wynton Marsalis observes that tresillo is the New Orleans "clavé", a Spanish word meaning "code" or "key", as in the key to a puzzle, or mystery.[57] Although the pattern is only half a clave, Marsalis makes the point that the single-celled figure is the guide-pattern of New Orleans music. Jelly Roll Morton called the rhythmic figure the Spanish tinge and considered it an essential ingredient of jazz.[58]


Scott Joplin in 1903

The abolition of slavery in 1865 led to new opportunities for the education of freed African Americans. Although strict segregation limited employment opportunities for most blacks, many were able to find work in entertainment. Black musicians were able to provide entertainment in dances, minstrel shows, and in vaudeville, during which time many marching bands were formed. Black pianists played in bars, clubs, and brothels, as ragtime developed.[59][60]

Ragtime appeared as sheet music, popularized by African-American musicians such as the entertainer Ernest Hogan, whose hit songs appeared in 1895. Two years later, Vess Ossman recorded a medley of these songs as a banjo solo known as "Rag Time Medley".[61][62] Also in 1897, the white composer William Krell published his "Mississippi Rag" as the first written piano instrumental ragtime piece, and Tom Turpin published his "Harlem Rag", the first rag published by an African-American.

Classically trained pianist Scott Joplin produced his "Original Rags" in 1898 and, in 1899, had an international hit with "Maple Leaf Rag", a multi-strain ragtime march with four parts that feature recurring themes and a bass line with copious seventh chords. Its structure was the basis for many other rags, and the syncopations in the right hand, especially in the transition between the first and second strain, were novel at the time.[63] The last four measures of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" (1899) are shown below.

African-based rhythmic patterns such as tresillo and its variants, the habanera rhythm and cinquillo, are heard in the ragtime compositions of Joplin and Turpin. Joplin's "Solace" (1909) is generally considered to be in the habanera genre:[64][65] both of the pianist's hands play in a syncopated fashion, completely abandoning any sense of a march rhythm. Ned Sublette postulates that the tresillo/habanera rhythm "found its way into ragtime and the cakewalk,"[66] whilst Roberts suggests that "the habanera influence may have been part of what freed black music from ragtime's European bass."[67]


African genesis

A hexatonic blues scale on C, ascending

Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre,[68] which originated in African-American communities of primarily the Deep South of the United States at the end of the 19th century from their spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants and rhymed simple narrative ballads.[69]

The African use of pentatonic scales contributed to the development of blue notes in blues and jazz.[70] As Kubik explains:

Many of the rural blues of the Deep South are stylistically an extension and merger of basically two broad accompanied song-style traditions in the west central Sudanic belt:

  • A strongly Arabic/Islamic song style, as found for example among the Hausa. It is characterized by melisma, wavy intonation, pitch instabilities within a pentatonic framework, and a declamatory voice.
  • An ancient west central Sudanic stratum of pentatonic song composition, often associated with simple work rhythms in a regular meter, but with notable off-beat accents (1999: 94).[71]

W. C. Handy: early published blues

W. C. Handy at 19, 1892

W. C. Handy became interested in folk blues of the Deep South while traveling through the Mississippi Delta. In this folk blues form, the singer would improvise freely within a limited melodic range, sounding like a field holler, and the guitar accompaniment was slapped rather than strummed, like a small drum which responded in syncopated accents, functioning as another "voice".[72] Handy and his band members were formally trained African-American musicians who had not grown up with the blues, yet he was able to adapt the blues to a larger band instrument format and arrange them in a popular music form.

Handy wrote about his adopting of the blues:

The primitive southern Negro, as he sang, was sure to bear down on the third and seventh tone of the scale, slurring between major and minor. Whether in the cotton field of the Delta or on the Levee up St. Louis way, it was always the same. Till then, however, I had never heard this slur used by a more sophisticated Negro, or by any white man. I tried to convey this effect ... by introducing flat thirds and sevenths (now called blue notes) into my song, although its prevailing key was major ... , and I carried this device into my melody as well.[73]

The publication of his "Memphis Blues" sheet music in 1912 introduced the 12-bar blues to the world (although Gunther Schuller argues that it is not really a blues, but "more like a cakewalk"[74]). This composition, as well as his later "St. Louis Blues" and others, included the habanera rhythm,[75] and would become jazz standards. Handy's music career began in the pre-jazz era and contributed to the codification of jazz through the publication of some of the first jazz sheet music.

New Orleans

The Bolden Band around 1905

The music of New Orleans had a profound effect on the creation of early jazz. In New Orleans, slaves could practice elements of their culture such as voodoo and playing drums.[76] Many early jazz musicians played in the bars and brothels of the red-light district around Basin Street called Storyville.[77] In addition to dance bands, there were marching bands which played at lavish funerals (later called jazz funerals). The instruments used by marching bands and dance bands became the instruments of jazz: brass, drums, and reeds tuned in the European 12-tone scale. Small bands contained a combination of self-taught and formally educated musicians, many from the funeral procession tradition. These bands traveled in black communities in the deep south. Beginning in 1914, Creole and African-American musicians played in vaudeville shows which carried jazz to cities in the northern and western parts of the U.S.[78]

In New Orleans, a white bandleader named Papa Jack Laine integrated blacks and whites in his marching band. He was known as "the father of white jazz" because of the many top players he employed, such as George Brunies, Sharkey Bonano, and future members of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. During the early 1900s, jazz was mostly performed in African-American and mulatto communities due to segregation laws. Storyville brought jazz to a wider audience through tourists who visited the port city of New Orleans.[79] Many jazz musicians from African-American communities were hired to perform in bars and brothels. These included Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton in addition to those from other communities, such as Lorenzo Tio and Alcide Nunez. Louis Armstrong started his career in Storyville[80] and found success in Chicago. Storyville was shut down by the U.S. government in 1917.[81]


Jelly Roll Morton, in Los Angeles, California, c. 1917 or 1918

Cornetist Buddy Bolden played in New Orleans from 1895 to 1906. No recordings by him exist. His band is credited with creating the big four: the first syncopated bass drum pattern to deviate from the standard on-the-beat march.[82] As the example below shows, the second half of the big four pattern is the habanera rhythm.

Afro-Creole pianist Jelly Roll Morton began his career in Storyville. Beginning in 1904, he toured with vaudeville shows to southern cities, Chicago, and New York City. In 1905, he composed "Jelly Roll Blues", which became the first jazz arrangement in print when it was published in 1915. In introduced more musicians to the New Orleans style.[83]

Morton considered the tresillo/habanera, which he called the Spanish tinge, an essential ingredient of jazz.[84] "Now in one of my earliest tunes, "New Orleans Blues," you can notice the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can't manage to put tinges of Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right seasoning, I call it, for jazz."[58]

An excerpt of "New Orleans Blues" is shown below. In the excerpt, the left hand plays the tresillo rhythm, while the right hand plays variations on cinquillo.

Morton was a crucial innovator in the evolution from the early jazz form known as ragtime to jazz piano, and could perform pieces in either style; in 1938, Morton made a series of recordings for the Library of Congress in which he demonstrated the difference between the two styles. Morton's solos, however, were still close to ragtime, and were not merely improvisations over chord changes as in later jazz, but his use of the blues was of equal importance.

Swing in the early 20th century

Morton loosened ragtime's rigid rhythmic feeling, decreasing its embellishments and employing a swing feeling.[85] Swing is the most important and enduring African-based rhythmic technique used in jazz. An oft quoted definition of swing by Louis Armstrong is: "if you don't feel it, you'll never know it."[86] The New Harvard Dictionary of Music states that swing is: "An intangible rhythmic momentum in jazz...Swing defies analysis; claims to its presence may inspire arguments." The dictionary does nonetheless provide the useful description of triple subdivisions of the beat contrasted with duple subdivisions:[87] swing superimposes six subdivisions of the beat over a basic pulse structure or four subdivisions. This aspect of swing is far more prevalent in African-American music than in Afro-Caribbean music. One aspect of swing, which is heard in more rhythmically complex Diaspora musics, places strokes in-between the triple and duple-pulse "grids".[88]

New Orleans brass bands are a lasting influence, contributing horn players to the world of professional jazz with the distinct sound of the city whilst helping black children escape poverty. The leader of New Orleans' Camelia Brass Band, D'Jalma Ganier, taught Louis Armstrong to play trumpet; Armstrong would then popularize the New Orleans style of trumpet playing, and then expand it. Like Jelly Roll Morton, Armstrong is also credited with the abandonment of ragtime's stiffness in favor of swung notes. Armstrong, perhaps more than any other musician, codified the rhythmic technique of swing in jazz and broadened the jazz solo vocabulary.[89]

The Original Dixieland Jass Band made the music's first recordings early in 1917, and their "Livery Stable Blues" became the earliest released jazz record.[90][91][92][93][94][95][96] That year, numerous other bands made recordings featuring "jazz" in the title or band name, but most were ragtime or novelty records rather than jazz. In February 1918 during World War I, James Reese Europe's "Hellfighters" infantry band took ragtime to Europe,[97][98] then on their return recorded Dixieland standards including "Darktown Strutters' Ball".[99]

Other regions

In the northeastern United States, a "hot" style of playing ragtime had developed, notably James Reese Europe's symphonic Clef Club orchestra in New York City, which played a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in 1912.[99][100] The Baltimore rag style of Eubie Blake influenced James P. Johnson's development of stride piano playing, in which the right hand plays the melody, while the left hand provides the rhythm and bassline.[101]

In Ohio and elsewhere in the mid-west the major influence was ragtime, until about 1919. Around 1912, when the four-string banjo and saxophone came in, musicians began to improvise the melody line, but the harmony and rhythm remained unchanged. A contemporary account states that blues could only be heard in jazz in the gut-bucket cabarets, which were generally looked down upon by the Black middle-class.[102]

Jazz Origins and early history articles: 96

The Jazz Age

The King & Carter Jazzing Orchestra photographed in Houston, Texas, January 1921

From 1920 to 1933, Prohibition in the United States banned the sale of alcoholic drinks, resulting in illicit speakeasies which became lively venues of the "Jazz Age", hosting popular music, dance songs, novelty songs, and show tunes. Jazz began to get a reputation as immoral, and many members of the older generations saw it as a threat to the old cultural values by promoting the decadent values of the Roaring 20s. Henry van Dyke of Princeton University wrote, "... it is not music at all. It's merely an irritation of the nerves of hearing, a sensual teasing of the strings of physical passion."[103] The New York Times reported that Siberian villagers used jazz to scare away bears, but the villagers had used pots and pans; another story claimed that the fatal heart attack of a celebrated conductor was caused by jazz.[103]

In 1919, Kid Ory's Original Creole Jazz Band of musicians from New Orleans began playing in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where in 1922 they became the first black jazz band of New Orleans origin to make recordings.[104][105] During the same year, Bessie Smith made her first recordings.[106] Chicago was developing "Hot Jazz", and King Oliver joined Bill Johnson. Bix Beiderbecke formed The Wolverines in 1924.

Despite its Southern black origins, there was a larger market for jazzy dance music played by white orchestras. In 1918, Paul Whiteman and his orchestra became a hit in San Francisco. He signed a contract with Victor and became the top bandleader of the 1920s, giving hot jazz a white component, hiring white musicians such as Bix Beiderbecke, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Frankie Trumbauer, and Joe Venuti. In 1924, Whiteman commissioned George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which was premiered by his orchestra. Jazz began to be recognized as a notable musical form. Olin Downes, reviewing the concert in The New York Times, wrote, "This composition shows extraordinary talent, as it shows a young composer with aims that go far beyond those of his ilk, struggling with a form of which he is far from being master. ... In spite of all this, he has expressed himself in a significant and, on the whole, highly original form. ... His first theme ... is no mere dance-tune ... it is an idea, or several ideas, correlated and combined in varying and contrasting rhythms that immediately intrigue the listener."[107]

After Whiteman's band successfully toured Europe, huge hot jazz orchestras in theater pits caught on with other whites, including Fred Waring, Jean Goldkette, and Nathaniel Shilkret. According to Mario Dunkel, Whiteman's success was based on a "rhetoric of domestication" according to which he had elevated and rendered valuable (read "white") a previously inchoate (read "black") kind of music.[108]

Louis Armstrong began his career in New Orleans and became one of jazz's most recognizable performers.

Whiteman's success caused blacks to follow suit, including Earl Hines (who opened in The Grand Terrace Cafe in Chicago in 1928), Duke Ellington (who opened at the Cotton Club in Harlem in 1927), Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, Claude Hopkins, and Don Redman, with Henderson and Redman developing the "talking to one another" formula for "hot" swing music.[109]

In 1924, Louis Armstrong joined the Fletcher Henderson dance band for a year, as featured soloist. The original New Orleans style was polyphonic, with theme variation and simultaneous collective improvisation. Armstrong was a master of his hometown style, but by the time he joined Henderson's band, he was already a trailblazer in a new phase of jazz, with its emphasis on arrangements and soloists. Armstrong's solos went well beyond the theme-improvisation concept and extemporized on chords, rather than melodies. According to Schuller, by comparison, the solos by Armstrong's bandmates (including a young Coleman Hawkins), sounded "stiff, stodgy," with "jerky rhythms and a grey undistinguished tone quality."[110] The following example shows a short excerpt of the straight melody of "Mandy, Make Up Your Mind" by George W. Meyer and Arthur Johnston (top), compared with Armstrong's solo improvisations (below) (recorded 1924).[111] Armstrong's solos were a significant factor in making jazz a true 20th-century language. After leaving Henderson's group, Armstrong formed his Hot Five band, where he popularized scat singing.[112]

Swing in the 1920s and 1930s

Benny Goodman (1943)

The 1930s belonged to popular swing big bands, in which some virtuoso soloists became as famous as the band leaders. Key figures in developing the "big" jazz band included bandleaders and arrangers Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Harry James, Jimmie Lunceford, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw. Although it was a collective sound, swing also offered individual musicians a chance to "solo" and improvise melodic, thematic solos which could at times be complex "important" music.

Over time, social strictures regarding racial segregation began to relax in America: white bandleaders began to recruit black musicians and black bandleaders white ones. In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman hired pianist Teddy Wilson, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and guitarist Charlie Christian to join small groups. In the 1930s, Kansas City Jazz as exemplified by tenor saxophonist Lester Young marked the transition from big bands to the bebop influence of the 1940s. An early 1940s style known as "jumping the blues" or jump blues used small combos, uptempo music and blues chord progressions, drawing on boogie-woogie from the 1930s.

The influence of Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington at the Hurricane Club (1943)

While swing was reaching the height of its popularity, Duke Ellington spent the late 1920s and 1930s developing an innovative musical idiom for his orchestra. Abandoning the conventions of swing, he experimented with orchestral sounds, harmony, and musical form with complex compositions that still translated well for popular audiences; some of his tunes became hits, and his own popularity spanned from the United States to Europe.[113]

Ellington called his music American Music, rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category."[114] These included many musicians from his orchestra, some of whom are considered among the best in jazz in their own right, but it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most popular jazz orchestras in the history of jazz. He often composed for the style and skills of these individuals, such as "Jeep's Blues" for Johnny Hodges, "Concerto for Cootie" for Cootie Williams (which later became "Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me" with Bob Russell's lyrics), and "The Mooche" for Tricky Sam Nanton and Bubber Miley. He also recorded compositions written by his bandsmen, such as Juan Tizol's "Caravan" and "Perdido", which brought the "Spanish Tinge" to big-band jazz. Several members of the orchestra remained with him for several decades. The band reached a creative peak in the early 1940s, when Ellington and a small hand-picked group of his composers and arrangers wrote for an orchestra of distinctive voices who displayed tremendous creativity.[115]

Beginnings of European jazz

As only a limited number of American jazz records were released in Europe, European jazz traces many of its roots to American artists such as James Reese Europe, Paul Whiteman, and Lonnie Johnson, who visited Europe during and after World War I. It was their live performances which inspired European audiences' interest in jazz, as well as the interest in all things American (and therefore exotic) which accompanied the economic and political woes of Europe during this time.[116] The beginnings of a distinct European style of jazz began to emerge in this interwar period.

British jazz began with a tour by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1919. In 1926, Fred Elizalde and His Cambridge Undergraduates began broadcasting on the BBC. Thereafter jazz became an important element in many leading dance orchestras, and jazz instrumentalists became numerous.[117]

This style entered full swing in France with the Quintette du Hot Club de France, which began in 1934. Much of this French jazz was a combination of African-American jazz and the symphonic styles in which French musicians were well-trained; in this, it is easy to see the inspiration taken from Paul Whiteman since his style was also a fusion of the two.[118] Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt popularized gypsy jazz, a mix of 1930s American swing, French dance hall "musette", and Eastern European folk with a languid, seductive feel; the main instruments were steel stringed guitar, violin, and double bass. Solos pass from one player to another as guitar and bass form the rhythm section. Some researchers believe Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti pioneered the guitar-violin partnership characteristic of the genre,[119] which was brought to France after they had been heard live or on Okeh Records in the late 1920s.[120]

Jazz The Jazz Age articles: 56