Although it is unclear when exactly jazz music became known as a genre, Jazz has been celebrated for over a century, and it is often referred to as “America’s classical music.” It is one of North America’s oldest and most celebrated musical genres. Jazz originated from African American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, during the late 19th century. Jazz music encompasses a wide range of music. It makes use of improvisation, swing note, and polyrhythms. Jazz is ingrained within the African-American experience of the United States, however many different cultures have contributed to the foundation of jazz, adding elements from their own music culture.
During the early 1900’s, New Orleans played a great role in the evolution of jazz music. During this time period, New Orleans was made up of many different cultures, as new settlers arrived steadily. As these different cultures united into a single community, musical traditions from all over the world began to unite. African American musicians merged European musical tradition with different genres such as blues, ragtime, and marching band, and this created a new style of music that we now refer to as jazz.
During the 1950’s, a new style of jazz emerged. This new style, called “free jazz,” explored playing without a regular meter, beat, or formal structures. This allowed for the freedom of improvisation, which attracted many musicians. Throughout the past century, many different styles of jazz have emerged, but all of the underlying the idea of improvisation and convergence of different cultures.
Some of the most celebrated jazz musicians in the history of jazz in the United States are Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday. These artists, and many others, have inspired modern musicians, and have instilled an appreciation for musical history. Jazz music has its roots in the United States in New Orleans, Chicago, and New York City, however there are a wide range of cities with prominent jazz musicians were brought up. The musical tradition within these cities still lives on today. Jazz is more than just a genre of music it is a lived culture. It brings together individuals of all backgrounds, socio- economic classes, and races. It is a unifying identity, keeping the passion and love for the sound of music and narratives alive.