Date The Jazz Age The Jazz Age was one of the most prominent features in the 1920s and was indeed characterized by several happenings. Jazz music became very popular during this time and many people joined the bandwagon in the jazz culture…
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While the Jazz age was much influential even in the later years, much of this influence was affected by the great depression in the 1930s. It is however, imperative to emphasize that Jazz music did not really begin in the 1920s but earlier on. The twenties only served as a period when new experiments were conducted and many styles were discovered with respect to the Jazz culture. Real jazz music was born in 1895 as a mixture of Blues and band music which played by African Americans and Creoles in New Orleans. This music was basically played on the old U.S Army music instruments like the marching drums of the cornet. It was basically a matter of improvisation given that most musicians of the day could not read music. Gradually, some white men noticed the popularity of this new trend and became interested. As a result many white people began playing jazz (Barrett, 45). Consequently, there was a fusion of the African and European music which blended to give jazz a new style from which a new culture sprang. Many of the white performers were used to make the culture much popular across the United States (Baraka, 25). The jazz music culture was soon taken over by the white middle class Americans and cities like Chicago and New York became canters for jazz music and culture. The growth and development of the radio industry was further instrumental in encouraging the growth of this culture. The numerous radio stations that sprang up around 1920 made it possible for many Americans to experience many kinds of music without the need to visit clubs. Many radio shows such as “potter palm” enhanced the popularity of jazz music and many people became fans (Barrett, 51). Armature concerts and other jazz performances were common in cities like Chicago. Originally, many African Americans got little airplay as many of the stations and clubs preferred the white jazz musicians (Shaw, 65). However, as the music became popular, artists like Louis Armstrong received much airtime and many big bands were formed. Much of the influence of the jazz music was realized in the 1920s when majority of the youth went against the traditional lifestyle and adopted new ways. The traditional culture was slowly washed away amongst the youth through dressing and other mannerisms. The bold fashion statements (flappers) and new radio concerts were part of the rebellion realized amongst the youth (Barrett, 32). New styles of dancing like the Charleston were introduced by the African Americans and became very popular amongst the younger generations. Many of the youth began to make their hair in strange new ways while also donning sliver and golden slippers. In the same way, the women were not immune from this new wave that took over many of the youth. While there was indeed a lot of opposition from mothers and fathers on the new trend and how they thought it was affecting society, the peak of the women suffrage in the twenties coupled with the introduction of the flapper gave women much liberty to adopt the new culture. The happenings of the First World War led to many women joining the work force and this gave them many possibilities in relation to social life. Many people further advocated for equality and free sexuality and many female musicians emerged. Women musicians like Janis Joplin and Billie Holiday became very popular jazz musicians and were mostly inspired by Bessie Smith who had earlier became famous (Fitzgerald, 89). Nevertheless, there was
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Jazz is over hundred years old. The actual circumstances of the birth of this music are rarely known because the recordings of the first jazz band were lost and therefore it is difficult to assume as to how it sounded, but it is possible to create an account of its emergence by gathering scraps of tit bits and information pieces.
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This discussion attempts to reference the social, cultural, and political influences that have helped to craft jazz music in the early 20th century. Rather than focusing on a specific time period, the cultural roots of jazz will be analysed alongside the social dynamics and political changes that helped to encourage its syncretism and approach.
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