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Jazz Music - Essay Example

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Since times immemorial, it has been a tendency of the art critics to canonize and classify the specific genres and forms. The world of music is not an exception to this traditional predilection…
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Jazz Music
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Jazz Music

Download file to see previous pages... In fact the pecuniary limitations of the multi million dollar music publishing business make it necessary to package musical genres with appropriate labels so as to facilitate their mass marketing and sale. Yet, there exists one musical genre that defies all definitions and commercial constraints and stands apart in a class of its own. That musical tradition is known as Jazz. Jazz is an art form of contradictions and surprises and happens to be a strange mix of conformity and rebellion, tradition and novelty, practice and improvisation, discipline and impetuosity. Jazz is every thing that one seeks in a musical composition and still it always seems to be so fresh, new and exotic (Miles 37). In fact, it is this very quality of Jazz that makes it so typically American. Jazz originated in the port city of New Orleans at some time around 1895, that was and is the home to a diverse and multicultural population that included blacks, Hispanics and European immigrants. The history of Jazz is in fact akin to the history of America. The various ethnic communities residing in New Orleans happened to be the custodians of musical traditions originating from Europe, Africa and Latin America. It is difficult to say when and how, but Jazz emerged as a formative tradition that was the result of the juxtaposition and coalescing of these diverse musical traditions. Initially it was performed and played by really small groups who mostly resorted to improvisation and spontaneous composition, while exhibiting an astonishing aptitude for classical music and a diehard instinct for African and Latin notes (Aaberg 1). One special thing about these performances was that no one performance sounded likes the other, even if it involved the same musicians and singers. Even today this trait happens to be the hallmark of jazz music. Eventually the Jazz groups gradually started moving to Chicago in the 20s (Aaberg 2). These vagrant performers continuously experimented with their music and the Jazz music that developed in these times is known as the early Jazz (Aaberg 2).
As expected, Jazz was never to loose its panache for evolution. The music that was till now confined to small groups gave way to big bands in the early 40s. Still there was no dearth of performers who preferred to go solo. This period in the history of Jazz is known as the swing era (Aaberg 3). Some of the noteworthy bands of this era were Jimmy Lunceford, Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson (Aaberg 3). There also existed a special class of bands who were more into the dance music. Yet, the era of big Jazz bands was not to last for very long.
In the 50s and 60s, Jazz musical split into a range of styles such as Be pop, More, Cool, Funky and Free Jazz (Aaberg 4). Be pop was a more straight jacketed approach to Jazz in the sense that it insisted on pleasing the musicians rather then appealing to the masses (Aaberg 4). Thus it had a limited financial scope. Cool Jazz was more experimental in its perspective and often incorporated musical instruments like oboe and flute that were never traditionally related to Jazz (Aaberg 4). Funky Jazz was basically inspired from the black spirituals. One common thing about all these Jazz styles was that they were primarily solo driven.
However, sometime around the end of 1970, the age of big bands was to come back. The introduction of electrical instruments on the scene ushered in new opportunities and possibilities for the musicians and composers. Jazz was also not averse to this new trend. Hence originated the most ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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