|Jazz; the type of classic music first developed
by African Americans around the first decade of
the 20th century that has an identifiable history
and distinct stylistic phenomena of continuous
evolution. Jazz grew up alongside the blues and
popular music, and all these genres overlap in
many ways. However, critics generally agree
about whether artists fall squarely in one camp
Since its beginnings jazz has branched out into
so many styles that no single description fits all
of them accurately. A few generalizations can
be made, however, bearing in mind that all
performers of jazz improvise within the
conventions of their chosen style. Typically, the
improvisation is accompanied by the repeated
chord progression of a popular song or an
original composition. Instrumentalists emulate
black vocal styles, including the use of glissandi
|(sliding movements that smoothly change the pitch), nuances of pitch (including blue notes, the “bent” notes that are played or
sung slightly lower than the major scale), and tonal effects such as growls and wails.
In striving to develop a personal sound, or tone color (an idiosyncratic sense of rhythm and form and an individual style of execution),
performers create rhythms characterized by constant syncopation (the placing of accents in unexpected places, usually on the weaker beat)
and by swing. Swing can be defined as a sensation of momentum in which a melody is alternately heard together with, then slightly at
variance with, the regular beat. Written scores, if present, are often used merely as guides, providing structure within which improvisation
occurs. The typical instrumentation begins with a rhythm section consisting of piano, string bass, drums, and optional guitar, to which may
be added any number of wind instruments. In big bands the wind instruments are grouped into three sections: saxophones, trombones, and
Although exceptions occur in some styles, most jazz is based on the principle that an infinite number of melodies can fit the chord
progressions of any song. The musician improvises new melodies that fit the chord progression, which is repeated again and again as each
soloist is featured, for as many choruses as desired.
Although pieces with many different formal patterns are used for jazz improvisation, two formal patterns in particular are frequently found
in songs used for jazz. One is the AABA form of popular-song choruses, which typically consists of 32 measures in 1 meter, divided into
four 8-measure sections: section A, a repetition of section A, section B (the “bridge” or “release,” often beginning in a new key), and a
repetition of section A. The second form, with roots deep in African American folk music, is the 12-bar blues form. Unlike the 32-bar
AABA form, blues songs have a fairly standardized chord progression.
Jazz is rooted in the mingled musical traditions of African Americans. These include traits surviving from West African music; black folk
music forms developed in the Americas; European popular and light classical music of the 18th and 19th centuries; and later popular music
forms influenced by black music or produced by black composers. Among the surviving African traits are vocal styles that include great
freedom of vocal color; a tradition of improvisation; call-and-response patterns; and rhythmic complexity, both in the syncopation of
individual melodic lines and in the conflicting rhythms played by different members of an ensemble. Black folk music forms include field
hollers, rowing chants, lullabies, and later, spirituals and blues (see African American Music).
Ragtime Composer Scott Joplin Ragtime music is performed primarily by pianists and combines a highly syncopated melody line with a
rhythmically straight accompaniment. Originating in the American Midwest, ragtime music flourished around the world from about 1897 to
1920, becoming the first internationally accepted variety of popular music and the first African American music to influence world popular
music. Classic ragtime was popularized by composer and pianist Scott Joplin, who was well known by 1900 as the “King of Ragtime.”
"The Cascades" from Scott Joplin piano roll on the Riverside
History of Classical Jazz
European music contributed specific styles and forms: hymns, marches, waltzes, quadrilles, and other dance music, as well as light
theatrical music and Italian operatic music. European music also introduced theoretical elements, in particular, harmony, both as a
vocabulary of chords and as a concept related to musical form. (Much of the European influence was absorbed through private lessons in
European music, even when the black musicians so trained could only find work in seedy entertainment districts and on Mississippi
New Orleans Jazz The New Orleans brass band tradition has been part of the black community in New Orleans for over a century. The
“parade-jazz” sound evolved out of groups that accompanied funeral processions and performed at annual Mardi Gras celebrations.
Featuring trumpets, saxophone, clarinet, trombone, tuba, snare drum, and percussion, elements of this musical form are at the core of the
early New Orleans jazz sound pioneered by Joe (“King”) Oliver and Louis Armstrong "Big Fat Woman" from Rebirth Brass Band: Feel
Like Funkin' It Up.
Black-influenced elements of popular music that contributed to jazz include the banjo music of the minstrel shows (derived from the banjo
music of slaves), the syncopated rhythmic patterns of African-influenced Latin American music (heard in southern U.S. cities), the barrel
house piano styles of tavern musicians in the Midwest, and the marches played by black brass bands in the late 19th century. Near the end
of the 19th century, another influential genre emerged. This was ragtime, a composed music that combined many elements, including
syncopated rhythms (from banjo music and other black sources) and the harmonic contrasts and formal patterns of European marches.
After 1910 band leader W. C. Handy took another influential form, the blues, and broke its strict oral tradition by publishing his original
blues songs. (Favored by jazz musicians, Handy’s songs found one of their greatest interpreters in the 1920s in blues singer Bessie Smith,
who recorded many of them.)
The merging of these multiple influences into jazz is difficult to reconstruct because it occurred before the existence of recording, which
has provided valuable documentation. Of course, individual musicians had varying backgrounds and few people were directly exposed to
all of these influences. For example, most jazz artists were and are city dwellers and might have only known rural Black forms indirectly.
|Melanin What is it? This is one of the most frequently asked questions by the Black Human when the subject of Melanin enters into the
conversation. Throughout our entire lives, we as Black Humans, recognize visually the Black chemical in our skin, eyes and hair.
However, for the past several hundred years it has not sparked our interest. We just take it for granted or we feel “negative” about it
because it causes the Black Human so many problems and discomforts in western society. Melanin has physical and chemical properties
(personality traits), that distinguish it from other chemicals, and properties so fantastic as to be considered “Divine”. For more information
the reader is directed to Melanin: The chemical key to Black Greatness by Carol Barnes, Senior Research Chemist, The science of
Melanin dispelling the myths by T. Owens Moore, Ph.D. and The Ankh African origin of Electromagnetism by Nur Ankh Amen available
at better Afrocentric book stores.
Analysis of "racism" - Dr. Frances Cress Welsing is a Black behavioral scientist and practicing general and child psychiatrist, in her famous
book “The Isis Papers” declares that an adequate understanding, analysis and definition of racism is critical; at the time of its sixth printing
since 1995, her functional definition is “the local and global power system structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves
as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined: this system consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation,
thought, speech, action, and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity (economics, education,
entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war). The ultimate purpose of the system is to prevent white genetic animation on
Earth – a planet in which an overwhelming majority of the people are classified as non-white (black, brown, red and yellow) by white –
skinned people. All of the non – white people are genetically dominant (in terms of skin coloration) compared to the genetically recessive
white – skinned people. When this definition of racism as a strategy for white genetic survival is mastered, one can understand precisely
not only the present global power formations and realignments (i.e., U.S.A / U.S.S.R. linkage and European unification), but also all
present urban (non – white) center epidemics. Dr. Welsing goes on to state that anyone not interested in a functional definition of racism
has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Until one masters this definition; everything else you know will confuse you.
Egyptology-(Archeology) Egyptology the study of the civilization and artifacts of ancient Egypt. Archeology the sister science of
Egyptology is the study of ancient, old, primitive civilization and artifacts. The problem of the reputation and fame of Kemet (Ancient
Egypt) as one of the cradles of civilization, if not the cradle of human wisdom, posed a great embarrassment to the advocates of Black
inferiority. Therefore, this troublesome problem had to be explained away if the doctrine of black inferiority was to stick. Napoleon’s 1798
invasion of Kemet paved the way for the solution. When Napoleon entered Kemet (Ancient Egypt) he took an intellectual army, charged
with investigating and reporting on the remains of the amazing ancient Nile Valley Civilization, they placed the surviving works of the
African ancestors into captivity, carting much off to Europe and holding the remainder in bondage in the land of its origin. Thus emerged
the modern Pan European disciplines of Archeology and Egyptology which monopolized access to the greatest body of evidence on
African civilization presently known. The ultimate solution to the problem was to take part of northeast Africa including Egypt out of
Africa and place it in the mythical Middle East.
Therefore the real definitions are the study of classical African civilization and artifacts, by Europeans, as found in the Nile Valley of
Africa especially in what is now called Egypt for the purpose, the continuation and practice of white supremacy (racism). White people
study Black People. Black people are the most studied people in the known universe. At the turn of the 19th century racist white
supremacist created the sciences of Egyptology and Archeology the study of prehistoric African civilization and artifacts. We are the only
people for which a whole science was created and dedicated to… Bet you didn’t even know that. Now they do dig else where on the
planet, but the digs are poor. Africa has the richest digs because man and civilization (Black Man, Black Civilization) started in Africa and
as such is the oldest. By contrast, not much going on in Europe, poor digs not ancient and certainly not rich. Think about it. Caucasians
didn’t start burying their dead until they came into contact with Black Civilization. Black Folks do not realize that African Americans are
even more closely studied (everyday) than our ancient ancestors. Caucasians are fascinated with Blacks. Unfortunately, this ancient
fascination has historically been fatal for Blacks.
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|This brief excerpt Introduction To Jazz and... is from "Images of Greatness" Envoy KWHS DataBase.