The jazz

it is a born musical genre at the end of the XIXth century in the United States, which expanded of global form throughout the whole XXth century.

Between many attempts of delimiting and of describing the complex phenomenon of the jazz, the critic and German student Joachim-Ernst Berendt, in its classic work Jazz: Of New Orleans to the Jazz Rock, he says to us:

The jazz is a form of musical art that originated in the United States by means of the confrontation of the blacks with the European music. The instrumentation, melody and harmony of the jazz stem principally from the musical Occident tradition. The rhythm, the phrasing and the production of sound, and the elements of harmony of blues stem from the African music and from the musical concept of afroamericans.

The same author keeps on describing three basic elements that distinguish the jazz of the European classical music:

A well-known special rhythmic quality like swing;
The role of the improvisation;
A sound and a phrasing that reflect the personality of the musicians ejecutantes.
Along its history, the jazz has happened of being a simple music of popular dance to a difficult form of art recognized and celebrated in the whole world. In parallel with the above mentioned progress, they have changed also the attitudes towards this music: in a journalist of the New York Steal it was referring to her like «the comeback of the music of the “savages”», while in the Congress of the United States of America was declaring to the jazz as a «out-standing model of expression» and like a “exceptional national treasure”. It has been indicated that the engine of the above mentioned progress has been the innovation, a peculiarity that has always been present in the history of this music, directing its evolution and characterizing the work of its artists most emphasized next to a more traditionalist branch. In parallel with this dichotomy between the innovation and the tradition, the jazz has always moved between the work of a few artists who only have looked for the recognition of a small but select hearing and others that it has directed its efforts to one more hearing amplia.

The musical identity of the jazz is complex and be possible be isolated nor delimited with facility. First of all, although often the term is used to refer to a musical language (as it is done, for example, when one speaks about classical music), the jazz is in fact a family of musical genres which members share common characteristics, but they do not represent individually the genre complexity like everything; secondly, its diverse “social functions” (the jazz can serve like fund music for meetings or like dance music, but certain types of jazz demand an attentive listening and a deep concentration) they need an angle of different study; and in the third place, the racial topic has always generated a deep debate on the jazz, molding its reception on the part of the public. Although it is true that the jazz is a product of the African American culture, he has always been opened to influences of other musical traditions, and already from the decade of it has been executed by musicians of diverse parts of the world with a very different background. Sometimes the work of commercial musicians has appeared like paradigm of the jazz, notices that the fans and the criticism have considered by-products removed from the tradition, understanding on the contrary, that the jazz is a form of black music, in which the African Americans have been its biggest innovators and its most notable representatives.

Although a definitive agreement does not seem to exist as for the exact origin and meaning of the term “jazz”, some historians place its origin about, and indicate that there comes from the slang of the sports journalists of the Coast West of the United States, who were using the term in its comments dedicated to Pacific Coast League, one less league of baseball, to refer to the energy and vitality of the players of the San Francisco Seals. The most ancient example of this use of the term, found by the librarian of the University of New York George A. Thompson, Jr. in, appeared in Los Angeles Steal on April,, in a reference to the pitcher of Portland Beavers, Ben Henderson, where he was affirming this one:

“I call it the “ball jazz” because it “trembles” and, simply, you cannot do anything with her”.

From, in a series of articles about E. T. “Scoop” Gleeson for the San Francisco Bulletin, appears already the term jazz of more habitual form, applied to the music. The most ancient reference of its musical use, corresponds on March, and in her the term was used by a negative sense. Three days later, on March, Gleeson used the term of more exhaustive form when, on having reviewed the type of music executed by a band of the army, it pointed out that its members were training to rhythm of ragtime and jazz

Nevertheless, it was not until, in Chicago, that the term begun to be used completely to define a type of music. By the end of and beginning of the use of the term was already quite widespread. The first time that used the word jazz in New Orleans (also written jas or jass in the beginning) was in the Times-Picayune on November,, a fact that was discovered by the lexicographer Benjamin Zimmer,.

Nevertheless, many students believe that the term has a root fanti (western Africa) and one recounts to the sexual or relative act to love.

History of the jazz


Half a century after the foundation of the city of New Orleans in, France transferred it to Spain later, in, to recover it until, moment in which it happened to be a part of the United States as a result of the buy of the Luisiana. Por, the French and Spanish, along with Germans, Italians, Englishmen, Irishes and Scots contributed extensively to the cultural scene of the city. The inhabitants of black race were also diverse, being many of them fundamentally of the western area of Africa or Caribbean. It is in this heterogeneous cultural context where it has its origin the appearance of musical styles as diverse as the jazz, the music cajun, the zydeco or blues.
The Old Plantation, picture of in which one shows to African American slaves dancing to the sound of a banjo and different percussion instruments.
Although, in many areas of the South of the United States, beating of drums was specially prohibited for the law and, in areas like Georgia, the use of any musical instrument was prohibited on the part of the slaves, the festivals with music of drums and African dances were organizing themselves often at the beginning of the XIXth century so much in New Orleans, in the acquaintance like Square of the Congo, as in Memphis, Kansas, Dallas or San Luis, using instruments of percussion and of rope similar to the used ones in the African music native The slaves usually had the free Sunday and organized holidays in the Square of the Congo, which extended approximately until, coinciding with the emergence of the first bands of jazz The songs and interpreted dances were to a great extent functional, it was already for the work with songs or field screams, or used for rituals. Nevertheless, the main characteristic is its big wealth ritmica. The African tradition was making use of simple melodies and of skills of music of call and answer, but these elements were not late in The rhythms got together with harmonic concepts proceeding from the European music. They were reflecting African patterns and from the scales pentatonicas there arose the notes of the blues, used later to sit the bases of the blues and jazz.

The ecclesiastic classes also tried to control the music of the slaves, forcing him in numerous occasions the persons of black race to which they were singing psalms and anthems “to convert them” to more European musical styles. In many cases, the effect was opposite. Alan Lomax, scholar of the African American music, commented: “The blacks there were africanizado the psalms at such a level that many observers described the anthems of the blacks as mysterious African music. Instead of acting of individual form, they were fusing the different voices. From here there were going out incredible armonias, in which every singer was doing changes of the same melody. The result is such a powerful and original music like the jazz, but deeply melancholic, since the much pressed people were singing it”.


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