Jazz Scene | The History of Jazz Music
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The History of Jazz Music

It is said that jazz music finds its origins in the late 1800s and early 1900s when European and American classical music began to be interpreted in a different fashion. At this point, it had begun to be influenced by African and slave folk songs. In other words, West African culture had come into play. As the years passed by, how jazz music has been composed and the resulting style have been altered on a significant scale based on how each performer would interpret the song on a personal level and improvise it as well. It is this specific feature that spurred on the allure of jazz music back in the day.

As touched on earlier, jazz music drew inspiration from the West African culture. Here, a single-line melody was applied in addition to a call-and-response pattern. Each rhythm came with a specific counter-metric structure which was a very clear reflection of the speech patterns present in African culture.

When the 19th century rolled around, not only were African influences present in certain elements of Jazz music, but Afro-Cuban rhythmic motifs began to show up as well. This was when the habanera when its claim to fame. It was not long before sheet music featuring habaneras became widespread. As slavery was abolished in 1865, African Americans began to find work in the entertainment industry. This is why so many of the most famous jazz musicians are of African descent. Some of the respected names are Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and John Coltrane.

Miles Davis was not just a prominent jazz musician, but a bandleader and composer as well. He truly changed the landscape of jazz music. His album “Kind of Blue” has received recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives as a “national treasure”.

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