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Jazz is a type of music which was invented in the United States.

Jazz music
combines African-American music with European music. Jazz was very popular
in the 1920s.
Some common jazz instruments include the saxophone, trumpet, piano, double
bass, and drums.
What is jazz?
It is difficult to give an exact definition for "jazz". [1] One important part of jazz
isimprovisation (improv), which means the person playing is making music up
as they go along. If a jazz band is playing a song, the song may have several
solos where one player will improvise while the rest of the band, except for the
rhythm section (such as the piano, bass, or drums), does not play.
Define Jazz - What is Jazz music?
Jazz - an American art form and an international phenomenon! Jazz music is a
rich artistic heritage, a product of cultural collaboration and a universal
language of tolerance and freedom.
Jazz is not the result of choosing a tune, but an ideal that is created first in the
mind, inspired by ones passion and willed next in playing music. Jazz music is
a language, sometimes intimate, often boisterous, but always layered with
experience and life profoundly lived. Jazz is not found in websites or books or
even written down in sheet music. It is in the act of creating the form itself,
that we truly find Jazz (see Jazz etymology.)
Most attempts to define Jazz music have been from points of view outside that
of Jazz. An academic definition of Jazz would be: A genre of American music
that originated in New Orleans circa 1900 (see Jazz timeline) characterized by
strong, prominent meter, improvisation, distinctive tone colors & performance
techniques, and dotted or syncopated rhythmic patterns. But Jazz is so much
more than that.
Art in general hosts an invitation for the viewer or listener to invest a personal
attentiveness. Unlike other mediums, the nature of music is tipped toward the
emotional rather than intellectual. It is this personal connection with music and
all art that enables the patron to actually experience what is being
communicated, rather than merely understanding the information. While all
forms of music share this dynamic, Jazz, with its unique characteristic of
collective improvisation, exemplifies it.
Most genres of music involve the listener into the realm of the completed work
as it was scored. Jazz draws the onlooker to a deeper league, that of a
partnership so to speak, of being along when each spontaneous phrase is
created, when each inspired motive is often the interactive result of audience
involvement. Jazz music's dynamic is its "newness" which can be attributed to
the defining component - improvisation.
While Classical music may strive to conform the musical tones to orchestral
sonorities, Jazz music thrives on instrumental diversities; the player's

individual "sound" becoming the desired proficiency. This is where the passion
is, a kind found no where else.
Jazz is the most significant form of musical expression in American culture and
outstanding contribution to the art of music. From obscure origins in New
Orleans over a century ago, the music and the word we use for it are now
familiar the world over. Like the self-motivating, energetic solos that
distinguish the genre, Jazz continues to evolve and seek new levels of artistic
expression. In slightly over one hundred years, this evolution has given birth to
approximately two dozen distinct Jazz styles. Jazz music draws from life
experience and human emotion as the inspiration of the creative force, and
through this discourse is chronicled the story of its people.Jazz musicians and
those that follow the genre closely, can indeed be thought of as an artistic
community complete with its leaders, spokesmen, innovators, aficionados,
members and fans.
"The real power of Jazz is that a group of people can come together and create
improvised art and negotiate their agendas... and that negotiation is the art"
- Wynton Marsalis from 'Jazz, a film by Ken Burns.'


Did you know that jazz was born in the United States? Did you know that the
drum set was invented by jazz musicians? Did you know that the word "cool"
and "hip" were originally jazz terms?
Join us in learning more about the history of jazz from its birth in New Orleans,
Louisiana, to the music we hear on the radio today. Grammy-Award winning
trumpeter and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis invites
you to take a tour of jazz see the people, read about the events, and listen to
the music. The following history is adapted from the Jazz for Young People
Curriculum by Jazz at Lincoln Center. You will need RealAudio to listen to the
music pieces, to learn how to get RealPlayer, click here. (It's free!)

Late 1800sToday
The Blues: Back to the Source
Born in the South, the blues is an African American-derived music form that
recognized the pain of lost love and injustice and gave expression to the victory
of outlasting a broken heart and facing down adversity. The blues evolved from
hymns, work songs, and field hollers music used to accompany spiritual,
work and social functions. Blues is the foundation of jazz as well as the prime
source of rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, and country music. The blues is still
evolving and is still widely played today.

You shouldn't have to feel sad when listening to the blues. Wynton Marsalis
explains why.
New Orleans: The Melting Pot of Sound
Mardi Gras in New Orleans at the turn of the century
"New Orleans had a great tradition of celebration. Opera, military marching
bands, folk music, the blues, different types of church music, ragtime, echoes
of traditional African drumming, and all of the dance styles that went with this
music could be heard and seen throughout the city. When all of these kinds of
music blended into one, jazz was born." Wynton Marsalis. Listen to this
traditional New Orleans standard called "Second Line." The melody is repetitive
and very singable. Notice the banjo rhythms in the background, and listen to
the musicians break away from the melody into collective improvisations.

Louis Armstrong is born: The Jazz Original
"Through his clear, warm sound, unbelievable sense of swing, perfect grasp of
harmony, and supremely intelligent and melodic improvisations, he taught us
all to play jazz." Wynton Marsalis
Louis Armstrong was one of the most influential artists in the history of music.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 4, 1901, he began playing the
cornet at the age of 13. Armstrong perfected the improvised jazz solo as we
know it. Before Armstrong, Dixieland was the style of jazz that everyone was
playing. This was a style that featured collective improvisation where everyone
soloed at once. Armstrong developed the idea of musicians playing during
breaks that expanded into musicians playing individual solos. This became the
norm. Affectionately known as "Pops" and "Satchmo," Louis was loved and
admired throughout the world. He died in New York City on July 6, 1971.
Listen to the drama expressed by the trumpet and clarinet solos in "Potato
Head Blues."

Improvisation: The Expression of Freedom

Improvisation is the most defining feature of jazz. Improvisation is creating, or

making up, music as you go along. Jazz musicians play from printed music and
they improvise solos. From the collective improvisation of early jazz to the solo
improvisation of Louis Armstrong to the free jazz of Albert Ayler, Ornette
Coleman, and John Coltrane, improvisation is central to jazz.

Swing: Sound in Motion
Swing is the basic rhythm of jazz. Swinging means being in sync with other
people and loving it. Swing as a jazz style first appeared during the Great
Depression. The optimistic feeling of swing lifted the spirits of everyone in
America. By the mid-1930s, a period known as the "swing" era, swing dancing
had become our national dance and big bands were playing this style of music.
Orchestra leaders such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson,
Paul Whiteman, and Benny Goodman led some of the greatest bands of the

Duke Ellington: Master Composer

Duke Ellington
Photo: Library of Congress One of the most significant figures in music history,
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, in Washington,
D.C. He began studying the piano at the age of seven. He started playing jazz
as a teenager, and moved to New York City to become a bandleader. As a
pianist, composer, and bandleader, Ellington was one of the creators of the big
band sound, which fueled the "swing" era. He continued leading and
composing for his jazz orchestra until his death in 1974. "Ellington plays the
piano, but his real instrument is his band. Each member of his band is to him a
distinctive tone color and set of emotions, which he mixes with others equally
distinctive to produce a third thing, which I like to call the 'Ellington Effect.'"
Billy Strayhorn, composer and arranger.

Bebop: The Summit of Sound
"If you really understand the meaning of bebop, you understand the meaning
of freedom." Thelonious Monk, pianist and composer

In the early 1940s, jazz musicians were looking for new directions to explore. A
new style of jazz was born, called bebop, had fast tempos, intricate melodies,
and complex harmonies. Bebop was considered jazz for intellectuals. No longer
were there huge big bands, but smaller groups that did not play for dancing
audiences but for listening audiences.

Dizzy Gillespie: A Jazz Visionary

Dizzy Gillespie
"The first time you hear Dizzy Gillespie play the trumpet, you may think that
the tape was recorded at the wrong speed. He played so high, so fast, so
correctly." Wynton Marsalis
Trumpeter, bandleader, and composer John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was born on
October 21, 1917, in Cheraw, South Carolina. He got his first music lesson from
his father and took off from there. He moved to New York City in 1937 and met
musicians such as Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. Together they
experimented with jazz and came up with the bebop sound. Dizzy also helped
to introduce Latin American rhythms to modern jazz through his collaborations
with artists such as Machito and Chano Pozo. His bold trumpet playing, unique
style of improvisation, and inspired teachings had a major influence, not only
on other trumpet players, but on all jazz musicians in the years to come. He
died in Englewood, New Jersey, on January 6, 1993.

Latin and Afro-Cuban Jazz: Beyond the Borders
"Afro-Cuban jazz celebrates a collective musical history. Through its percussive
beat, it unites ragtime, blues, swing, and the various grooves of Cuban music.
It proclaims our shared musical heritage." Wynton Marsalis
The combination of African, Spanish, and native cultures in Latin America
created a unique body of music and dance. Jazz musicians from Jelly Roll
Morton to Duke Ellington to Dizzy Gillespie combined their music with this Latin
sound to create a powerful blend. In the 1940s and 50s, when musicians from
Cuba began to play with jazz musicians in New York, the circle was complete.
By combining the musical traditions of North, South, and Central America, Latin
jazz celebrates our musical differences and helps us to find a common ground.