Jazz music originated in new orleans circa 1920 with the introduction of people of different ethnicities. The people who influenced jazz most were of African American, Creole, and Latin American descent. The United States became a melting pot of different cultures during this time period and it impacted music greatly.
Jazz music emerged with a different aspect to Classical Music. Jazz music required instruments such as saxophone, trumpet, and double bass. People call the beginning of Jazz “Early Swing.” This music consisted of different elements of improvisation and different phrasing. An example of a song that has been improvised during this time of Early Jazz would be “When The Saints Go Marching In.” This song was changed in so many ways with the introduction of Jazz and Early Swing rhythms.
Since Jazz music was a different approach to Classical music, many people became hooked on this “new sound.” Now that New Orleans was so integrated, it was the only city that allowed people to have a mixed orchestra. The types of people that were in these orchestras were mainly African American and Mulatto.
In the 1920’s, jazz became so popular as America hit its peak of luxury and carelessness. People would pay a lot of money for Big Bands to play at special events or parties. Big Band emerged after Early Swing and it was made up of a large band with a rhythm section, (bass, piano, saxophones, trumpets, and sometimes guitar). Big Band was very popular because it was a bigger collaboration of musicians and it was something America had never seen before.
In the 1940’s, a new generation of Jazz music came out and it was much smaller than Big Band because the stock market crashed and people didn’t have the money to pay for all of the musicians for Big Band. This music is called Bebop and it created new melodies over a familiar harmony. Two artists who introduced Bebop jazz are Clifford Brown and Charlie Parker. Bebop Jazz required high technical skills and the ability to play in all twelve keys. Musicians that played Bebop played in small clubs and they often had the attitude that they were only playing for themselves.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Model Jazz emerged. Musicians would play more simple harmonies. They were influenced by Classical composers as well as more exotic music from places like Asia and Latin America. Model Jazz uses musical modes rather than chord progressions as a harmonic framework.
Today we call Jazz “Modern Jazz.” It consists of advanced and complex harmonies as well as pentatonic scales. Modern Jazz is a fusion of Jazz with hip hop and other exotic influences from places such as Asia and the Middle East. Modern Jazz is very free in nature and it is more about the style of the artist and what direction he or she chooses to go, whether it be more like Early Swing or Bebop.