Behind the Reeds – Episode 6 – Interview Sandrine LaitNovember 25, 2023
How to compose your own songsNovember 27, 2023
Jazz, born in New Orleans in the late 19th century, is a blend of African-American and European cultures, with blues and ragtime as major influences.
The first musicians played brass, wind and percussion, taking advantage of surplus military instruments after the Civil War. Jazz was also shaped by classical influences, thanks to musicians such as Scott Joplin.Its official birth was marked by the recording of "Livery Stable Blues" in 1917 byOriginal Dixieland Jass Bandas phonographs arrived and enabled wider distribution. Its unique characteristic remains innovation, making it a constantly evolving musical form. For over one hundred years, the history of jazz has undergone numerous musical evolutions. Rooted in blues and ragtime in its early days, the music continues to fascinate with its predominant use of improvisation.
By the way, did you know that the origin of the word "jazz" is rather uncertain?
It’s generally thought to have first appeared in the United States towards the end of the 19th century. There are several theories as to its origin. One of the most widespread is that the word "jazz" may have been derived from a southern U.S. slang expression, "jasm" or "jass", used to describe the music’s energy, enthusiasm and charm. It is said to have been adopted by New Orleans musicians to describe their unique musical style. Others suggest that the term has African origins, based on words like "jeza" or "jas", meaning to dance or move quickly.
Dixieland or traditional jazz
Jazz has its origins in the American South, particularly in New Orleans. This period, often called Dixieland or traditional jazz, is distinguished by the use of brass instruments including the trumpet, trombone and clarinet. Musicians of this era, such as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton, laid the foundations of jazz with their innovative playing and improvisation.
The swing era
The swing era was characterized by big bands, led by conductors like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman. This period was marked by sophisticated arrangements and virtuoso soloists, and enjoyed great popular success.
Bebop is a revolutionary jazz style that developed in the 1940s. It is characterized by complex improvisation, fast tempos and sophisticated harmonies. Musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk were bebop pioneers.
Cool jazz emerged in the 1950s. It is characterized by slower tempos, lighter arrangements and more relaxed playing. Musicians such as Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker were key figures in cool jazz.
Hard bop is a style that emerged in the 1950s, combining bebop with elements of blues, gospel, and rhythm and blues. Musicians such as Art Blakey, Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley were important exponents of hard bop.
Free jazz is an avant-garde style that emerged in the 1960s. It is characterized by totally free, unconventional improvisation, with no strict harmonic or rhythmic rules. Musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and John Coltrane were major figures in free jazz.
Jazz fusion is a style that combined jazz with elements of rock, funk and electronic music. Musicians such as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Weather Report were pioneers of jazz fusion.