Category Archives: Jazz Piano

Jazz Piano

An Introduction Into The Early History Of Jazz Music

The Jazz PianistAmong the most popular types of music in the entire world is jazz music. This genre has been a relevant part of the American culture since it began in the late 19th century. However, when someone says that they like jazz music, it is hard to say what they are really talking about. Since it’s popularization, there are literally dozens of jazz sub-genres that have taken form. If you’d like to learn a little more about jazz and how it has developed over the years, you’re in luck. The article below has some great information that will teach you everything you need to know about jazz. Read on and learn.

You can’t begin talking about jazz without mentioning its origins. Most people agree that the birthplace of jazz was in New Orleans during the end of the 19th century. African slaves brought over on Sunday’s in a place called Congo Square. Here they would trade, practice their religion and most importantly, they would dance and sing to their traditional West African rhythms. The beats and rhythms that they danced to is what eventually became known as ragtime, the syncopation in which early jazz was based off of.

As ragtime gained popularity, bands began to form all over the US. The first bandleader to play what everyone now considers “jazz” was Buddy Bolden. A wizard on the trumpet, Bolden’s freewheeling style was a major influence on many of the popular jazz musicians that would follow. Unfortunately, none of Buddy Bolden’s recordings are in existence anymore.

Following Bolden, New Orleans soon became a hotbed for producing talented jazz artists. The Storyville District in particular launched the careers of many famous musicians. Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Joe “King” Oliver were just a few of these musicians. Once these jazz musicians established themselves in New Orleans, they ventured Northward, mainly to Chicago to help spread jazz throughout the East Coast.

The earliest forms of jazz piano would eventually evolve into swing music. Originating during the 1920’s in Harlem and Kansas City, swing music took the nation by storm. It combined the depth of an ensemble while highlighting solo musicians at the same time. Swing music would remain popular throughout the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. It is also important to note that swing music was performed by both black and white band leaders and often with integrated bands. Among the most popular band leaders at the time were Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw and Count Basie.

Big bands also helped launch solo singing careers for many influential musicians. Jazz legends such as Ella Fitzgerald and the beautiful Billie Holiday both got their starts singing with big bands.

As swing was taking over the country, a small group of jazz musicians revolted against this form of popular music. Thus bop was born. As the popularity of swing started to dwindle, famous bop artists such as Thelonius Monk and Dizzy Gillespie helped fill the void that was created.

As the years progressed, many other forms of jazz were formed, however it would take much too long to explain it all. If you are interested in the evolution of jazz, there are many great resources available online.