12 Facts About Jazz


Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime.

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Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, complex chords, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation.

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Jazz has roots in European harmony and African rhythmic rituals.

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Jazz is difficult to define because it encompasses a wide range of music spanning a period of over 100 years, from ragtime to the rock-infused fusion.

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Jazz involves "a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role" and contains a "sonority and manner of phrasing which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician".

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Jazz was known as "the father of white jazz" because of the many top players he employed, such as George Brunies, Sharkey Bonano, and future members of the Original Dixieland Jass Band.

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From 1920 to 1933, Prohibition in the United States banned the sale of alcoholic drinks, resulting in illicit speakeasies which became lively venues of the "Jazz Age", hosting popular music, dance songs, novelty songs, and show tunes.

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Jazz began to get a reputation as immoral, and many members of the older generations saw it as a threat to the old cultural values by promoting the decadent values of the Roaring 20s.

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Jazz signed a contract with Victor and became the top bandleader of the 1920s, giving hot jazz a white component, hiring white musicians such as Bix Beiderbecke, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Frankie Trumbauer, and Joe Venuti.

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Jazz fusion was popular in Japan, where the band Casiopea released more than thirty fusion albums.

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Jazz rap developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates jazz influences into hip hop.

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In 2001, Ken Burns's documentary Jazz was premiered on PBS, featuring Wynton Marsalis and other experts reviewing the entire history of American jazz to that time.

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