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HISTORY OF JAZZ:
Pre-Jazz (1850 - 1900)
This time before the conscious recognition of jazz as an individual music is perhaps its most important. It was then that the musical and cultural influences merged to create the uniqueness and diversity of jazz. However, because records were not kept and recordings were not available, much of the history of prejazz goes unknown. We can look back and try to recreate it by looking at the writings of the day and by projecting backwards from what we know now of jazz.
The influences seemed to come from all directions. The African musical practices that remained a part of the slave culture were superimposed on the dominant white musical culture of western Europe. The western tradition spanned music as diverse as the songs of Stephen Foster to the operas of Wagner. The popular music of the day had simple harmonies, simple rhythms, and the form often used was AABA. The black tradition depended more on oral transmission and was represented by spirituals, work songs, field hollers, and later the blues. At this same time, four million slaves became American citizens. The four million, mixing their African background with the popular and church music around them, were to be the nucleus of jazz.
Early Jazz (1910s-1920s)
Not all jazz performed in the beginning of the 20th
century can be described as New Orleans or Dixieland Jazz. Beginning
in the late teens, a rich jazz influence of dance bands and soloists
helped in the development and growth of improvisational music. The stride
pianist, the early jazz vocalists and the horn soloist of this period
have been hard pressed to be categorized. Often these performed have
been placed in categories called "Classic Jazz" or "Traditional
Jazz" but no matter the term, the sound became a foundation for
the Kansas City, Chicago and Swing styles to follow. Among the artists
that had a major impact on Early Jazz were Clarance Williams, Bessie
Smith and Bix Beiderbecke.
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