Jazz Awareness Month to rekindle old passions

A look at the development of jazz.



Sarah Balough


Jazz, once syncopated through the streets of New Orleans non-stop; it filled the streets with life that embodied the rhythm of honky-tonks, dime-a-dance halls and society balls. Jazz was not a form of music, it was a form of life that defined those who were enthralled with its distinctive style and sound.

While rap and hip-hop have dictoralized the music output of today the influence of jazz remains as a prevalent influence. However, while the music genre emerged carrying the name “Jazz” in the early 20th century its origins trace back to the very first African population that was brought to America in chains. Due to the long history and influence that jazz has had, appreciation isn’t for a musical form but for a history.

This is due to the extreme human quality that jazz has carried on through so many generations. This human element is the characterization of intense personal emotional expressions. This expression emphasizes a continuous rhythm in which the emotions of the musician embody the produced sound.

While jazz has been recorded in sheet music, improvisation is considered the penultimate aspect, mainly those of improvised solos. While important, improvisation is more commonly associated with ragtime, while in jazz importance is stressed on rhythm.

Because of this wide spanning attributes jazz has expanded to include such other segments of American music as “symphonic jazz,” “dance music” and “swing:” all variations of the main stream of the jazz tradition itself.

If technically viewed, there is no such entity as a jazz song, instead melodies lend themselves well to what is considered, the “jazz treatment.”

It’s this application of the “jazz treatment” that can be viewed to some measure in almost all music pertaining to rhythm.

Formerly an African American creation, now the presence of jazz can be identified in everything from reggae to electronic dance music.

It’s this expansion and the many influences of jazz that give it reason to not only be recognized as the founder of many modern music forms but also celebrated.

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Jazz Awareness Month to rekindle old passions

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