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Free «Jazz» Essay Sample

Jazz can be traced back to North America in the turn of the 20th Century. Musical elements that had been carried across the sea from West Africa were developed in the Americas in the states of New Orleans, Kansas City and Chicago. This West African black folk music was joined further with the rather popular European light classical music of the late 18th and early 19th Centuries and became the syncopated rhythms of jazz.

After the freedom of the black folks in America, most of them moved to Europe in search of jobs and new lives away from America. The black migrant population played jazz only at home or in small matching bands accompanied by a piano. It became rather popular throughout Europe due to its ornament of melody. During the World War and soon after, Jazz was fully embraced in Paris and other European countries. Due to the racial tension still existent in America, more American Jazz musician spread their reach across the globe as the jazz ambassadors during their quest for cultural and creative freedoms. The roots of this form of music can be traced back to West Africa but the culture of America is largely rooted in Europe too.



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The earliest Jazz musicians used to play musical instruments that were available in America but which had actually originated in Europe. Thus the three continent tie in one music form came to pass in the form of jazz. The European classical music had already spread across the continent to America and by the time the jazz musicians heard the European music, they had clearly made a connection with the European classic music. The jazz musicians were in a way trying to make jazz unique to them but due to the incorporation of the European

instruments, they adopted these instruments in the search for a signature sound that would express their African influenced musical standards thereby slowly marking the way for a uniquely American phenomenon. These music genre became so widespread in Europe that one Django Rheinhardt, a Belgian guitarist became the first non-American to be a successful jazz innovator. Europe is a diverse continent that gives emphasis on the education of arts and as such the continent attracts many jazz musicians who are more successful in Europe than they ever could be.

The people in Europe were also more accommodating in the early 1920's when they heard the first sounds of jazz and as such they attracted many more jazz artists from America who went to Europe to develop their talents and also to seek for new lives away from the colonial and slavery bondages they had been under in America. Almost in an instant the newly introduced sound and music genre in Europe took up a large following and as such the beginning of a distinct European style of jazz emerged first in France in the Quintette du Hot Club de France in the late 1920's.

The guitarist Django continued popularizing gypsy jazz. Gypsy jazz was a mix of American swing, French dance hall musette and Eastern Europe folk all with a seductive feel. More instruments were added to the original jazz sound to include steel stringed guitars, violins and double bass. The smooth solos were passed on from one player to the next as the guitar and the bass gave the rhythm. It is still believed that a guitar player and a violist from Philadelphia are the pioneers of the gypsy jazz form.

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Most forms of music have been known to have come from a single background but jazz is one of the few exceptions having traced it's roots to Africa and America with later touches on Europe. After the first jazz concerts and sounds were played over and over again in Europe in the jazz era, this music genre has found a home with a wide following in the many European countries. It was not by political will that jazz happened to land in Europe but rather it was the freedom of the American slaves that gave birth to the unique sound that developed into jazz. The jazz era was also a time when there was plenty to spend and as such more and more people frequented the bars and other social areas whereby they could relax and mingle with other people and in the process get to listen to jazz music. It is sensual and each piece of written music will always be a master piece.

Jazz has managed to incorporate music from 19th and 20th Century into a classic music form. There have not been significant changes in the original type of compositions for Jazz even after all this time. The love for this music in Europe did not spring from the political happenings of the day but rather it was something that happened just for entertainment and leisure activity only. Only a few changes have been made or added to the original Jazz, making up smooth jazz and also the European House dance music. Jazz is still classic to those who love it and remains a leisure indulgence for more people in Europe at large.


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