The History Of Jazz Music

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American jazz roots go back centuries, both to Africa and Europe. The Europeans brought us instruments and written notation and the Africans brought us rhythm and the basis for the blues. The blues is the foundation of jazz although it did not become popular until the early 20th century. The biggest boost in the popularity of the blues was the invention of the phonograph. It made most music accessible to people all across America and the rest of the civilized world.

Although it seems that there were a billion blues players across the Southern part of our country, Robert Johnson was one of the most widely recognized innovative blues players. Both the public and other musicians recognized him as a forerunner to our basic blues concepts. Eventually,
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I saw B.B. King four times in his lifetime and although he different musicians with him each time, it was pretty much the same. (He had nine pieces with him the last time and they didn’t miss a note for almost three hours. I was impressed.) Jazz of course, never seems to be the same. B.B. liked to tell stories and talk to his guitar Lucille, but he set a great example for young guitarists all over the world.

Something else that I believe is important in the evolution of jazz is the ability to read and understand musical notation. I was surprised to find out how many rock musicians were classically trained. I listened to an interview of Cory Wells lead singer of Three Dog Night, expound on the basic need for classical music training. This were the Europeans came into play. They brought with them musical notation. The African music was unstructured and the European music was structured. African music was passed down orally while European music was notated and more easily preserved.

The blues was generally in 4/4 time and the chord structures were similar if not the same. It was the vocals and tempo that made the biggest
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I don’t know whether it is too complicated, too pretentious, or just too farfetched, but it is on a different plane than I am. That being said, I decided to look at a different kind of jazz. Webster defined jazz as an American music form developed from blues and characterized by syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, improvisation, and often distortions of pitch and timber. I decided to stick with Dixieland jazz. Some times called hot jazz, it’s roots can be traced to New Orleans and consisted of a horn playing a melody and a higher and lower horn playing around that melody. It became very popular in the early 1900’s and the rhythm was supplied by bass and drums. By the 1930’s young black musicians wanted to develop their own styles and many studied the teachings of
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