Jazz music as an art
African music has been known to be polyrhythmic. This means that it accommodates the occurrence of two rhythms at the same time. African tradition in the use of polyrhythmic music is thought to have had a stronger influence on jazz European polyrhythm (Dharmadeva, 2000). It is because similar to the composition of jazz music. African music is responsorial, a musical pattern that involves a call and its response. Here the music is not only an abstract piece of art but also an object that is essential in making a certain thing happen. The main purpose of early afro American music was to create a spiritual link between god and man although it also brought pleasure to the listener. This helped in creating a sense of communication between the community and the basic concept of God promoting a positive message (Wilson,1983).
this is similar to jazz music in the sense that I was created to speak a certain message to the African American community. This is a functional view of art that is important in all musical genres. Music was played during ceremonies and for entertainment. The main difference between African music precepts and jazz was merely the instruments and creative content. Being naturally talented like the Africans, black Americans merely loved the melody of music. Jazz music, in particular, broke onto the scene during the Harlem Renaissance a period between 1919 and 1939. It was a period of broad political and artistic ferment in the African American community. However, despite the exquisite nature of jazz, it was a tumultuous time for the black and white community.
Racism was still largely a part of society. Therefore, the oppositions to jazz at the time certainly bore strong undercurrents of racism, with jazz music being viewed as immoral and barbaric. Music educators at the time, in fact, thought jazz would destroy the interests of young people in classical music. In reality, there was no contest for which was better. As the musicians begun in New Orleans jazz was often played by a band of four or five favouring an ensemble style. However, in Chicago solo improvising was encouraged. This is seen in the musical career of individuals like Joe Oliver who was one of the first black jazz Americans to migrate from New Orleans (Absher, 2014). As time went by with the prominence of jazz music to minorities at the time, more bands were created.
They could soon play in more intricately arranged vaudeville theatres. Some churches did not also entertain or accommodate the immigrants from New Orleans. Jazz as a cultural movement Jazz was not just a form of music or art it was a cultural movement because of its influence. It changed the dress codes, attitudes as well as language that the youth at the time used. In this respect, it was the prototype for hip-hop or and rock and roll, the bourgeoisie of the time hated it. Despite the fact that jazz also influenced writers and many other visuals artists, it was hated largely for being associated with drugs and sex (Bateman, 2018). The media in general at the time was racist with publications in the media.
There was hardly ever any positive news on an African American in the papers. The white majority at the time seldom knew or bothered to understand the African American creative art forms. This may be why while the whites in the jazz music community got rich. Black musicians barely were compensated for the talent. Besides, there was great victimization of black individuals in the music industry. Even the black elite turned on their artists at the chance to make money. This tainted the image of certain deceased artists whose music was better marketed after their demise. For instance, John Hammond’s of Columbia records stated that the Bessie Smith album that was to be released a month after her demise would definitely be the best buy( Kofsky, 1998).
Definitely, instances like this only served to earn a coin for the company and a name for himself in the community. This is exemplified by articles such as “Jazz Must Go” printed in newspapers in 1921. However, this dynamic was soon to change. Although African Americans in the United States at the time did not receive much support, there was a market for jazz overseas. Jazz musicians were allowed to play at prominent theatres. In many ways, this overseas interference assisted African Americans in realizing that this segregating was not widespread across all Europe at the time. Lager music corporations were incurring losses and they needed to regain control of the audience and the market. Since their arrival in Chicago, the success of jazz music in the 1960 era of black arts movement was definitely the most successful challenge to segregation.
There were black writers Marxist and Black Nationalist that passionately supported the end to racial discrimination as well as everything that was white. Most of the writers successfully paid homage to certain jazz musicians (Bateman, 2018). For instance, many poems and articles alike were written paying homage to saxophonist John Coltrane. Very few individuals left in the music industry played originally jazz music in their performances without jazz-rock. This includes former Miles Davis associates; saxophonist-composer Wayne Shorter; John McLaughlin The guitarist. Notably, nowadays jazz is still not getting much-needed recognition in the United States as abroad. This is because, places like Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland having jazz festivals. It is rare that African American children have the opportunity to enjoy jazz music.
In conclusion, jazz music has a lot in common with African music. Not only because of how it is played but also speaking to the cultural influences that they both have. Besides, they are both quite informal in rhythm. Therefore, the genre of music, jazz, is one of the art forms that have characteristics of African music through historical realities in the USA, music that one can distinguish it’s from the true value despite the racial differences. However, it is true that this music has evolved and changed with the modern history of the United States, making it possible for African Americans to establish equal identities. [ebook] Cambridge: Fitzwilliam College University of Cambridge. Available at: https://www. repository. cam. ac.
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