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Chapter 9. Jazz. The Roots of Jazz. Jazz began through the spirituals and work songs of enslaved African Americans. These songs were not frivolous entertainment. They were a representation of honest, real human expression. The Roots of Jazz.

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9


The roots of jazz
The Roots of Jazz

  • Jazz began through the spirituals and work songs of enslaved African Americans.

  • These songs were not frivolous entertainment.

  • They were a representation of honest, real human expression.

The roots of jazz1
The Roots of Jazz

  • Jazz as it is recognized today, started in and around New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • This kind of music started around the second half of the nineteenth century.

  • Brass bands are responsible for the roots of jazz.

The roots of jazz brass bands
The Roots of Jazz- Brass Bands

  • Brass bands- bands made up of African Americans that played in New Orleans during the War of 1812.

  • These bands had a unique way of “cutting loose” with rhythm.

The roots of jazz brass bands1
The Roots of Jazz-Brass Bands

  • The Brass Bands used classical instruments but in nontraditional ways.

  • Instruments featured in the brass bands were: trumpets, trombones, clarinets, saxophones and drums.

What is jazz
What is Jazz?

  • Jazz- a musical form distinguished by its reliance on improvisation and its rhythmic urgency.

  • In its beginning, Jazz was referred to as a novelty- meaning that it was not taken seriously.

  • Jazz music was not even printed until 1917.

What is jazz1
What is Jazz?

  • In Jazz, the skill and inventiveness of individual performers is key to the success of the music.

  • The rhythm of Jazz is often polyrhythmic- juxtaposing two or more different rhythms.

  • This polyrhythm is what gives jazz its energy.

Stride piano
Stride Piano

  • One of the distinctive traits of early Jazz was the stride piano style.

  • This style was made popular by Jazz legends Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson and Earl Hines.

Characteristics of the stride piano style
Characteristics of the Stride Piano Style

  • Built on a steady, oom-pah, time-keeping left hand bass.

  • This was layered against the right hand part which shifted the accents as it embellished the tune.

Stride piano1
Stride Piano

  • These early stride pianists (Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson, Earl Hines) helped preserve a permanent spot for the piano in Jazz music.

  • Their work influence future jazz pianists such as Thomas “Fats” Waller, Art Tatum, and Thelonius Monk.

Jelly roll morton
“Jelly Roll” Morton

  • Great Legend of the early Jazz movement

  • He was a pianist and band leader

  • Perfected the New Orleans Dixieland jazz style.

  • Perfect example of this style is Black Bottom Stomp.

  • Personal Tidbit- Jelly Roll was not shy about self-promotion. What do I mean by self-promotion?

Mississippi the river not the state
Mississippi-The River, Not the State

  • Jazz spread from New Orleans to the North up the Mississippi River.

  • Primarily Dixieland Jazz at first.

  • This music was shocking to new listeners as teens shocked their parents with their new dance moves (the Charleston and the Black Bottom)

Dixieland jazz
Dixieland Jazz

  • Distinguishing Features:

    • Small bands- little duplication of instruments

    • March-like feeling, reliance on duple meter

    • Front line of wind instruments, back line of string instruments

    • Embellish melodies of existing songs

    • Use of riffs in a call and response format

Scat singing
Scat Singing

  • Form of vocal improvisation on nonsense syllables

  • Brought to the forefront by Jazz legends like Louis Armstrong


Sectional organization
Sectional Organization

  • 1920s- Jazz began its evolution into a sectional form, solo parts alternating with the ensemble.

  • Usually segmented into 12 or 16-bar sections

  • Improvised chorus usually lasted 32 bars

  • “Hotter Than That” (Page 202-Section Map)



  • Swing refers to the special rhythmic character that jazz musicians add to the music. Basically this means the musicians would change the feel of a traditional duple jazz tune to a triple feel.

  • While Dixieland Jazz was still popular, around 1935, Swing became all the rage with teens.


  • Fletcher Henderson- considered responsible for the development of the swing band.

    • Enlarged the jazz band with many duplications of instruments in each section.

    • Emphasis on solo playing

    • Trading fours- trademark of swing bands.

The big band era
The Big Band Era

  • Swing was primarily dance music.

  • It gave birth to swing bands, or big bands.

  • They were more dance orchestras than pure jazz bands.

The big band era legend
The Big Band Era-Legend

  • Benny Goodman- “The King of Swing”

  • Was able to play the classics as well as jazz.

  • His big band was highly successful

  • What was Goodman’s main instrument

The rise of the saxophone
The Rise of the Saxophone

  • Clarinet eventually gave way to saxophone as the most popular solo jazz instrument

  • This instrument raised many musicians to stardom such as Lester Young, Count Basie, and Charlie Parker.

Duke ellington
Duke Ellington

  • Most prominent big band innovator

  • Made jazz a sophisticated art, giving it form and substance

  • His melodies are often chromatic- incorporating tones from a musical scale consisting entirely of half steps

Mary lou williams
Mary Lou Williams

  • One of the few women able to break into the big band.

  • Pianist, composer and arranger

  • Joined a swing band (Twelve Clouds of Joy) where she gained recognition and respect

  • Wrote more than 350 compositions



  • Bebop- a complex and sophisticated type of improvised jazz- music for listening rather than dancing

  • Divided the jazz world into two separate factions- swing vs. bebop

Bebop pioneers
Bebop- Pioneers

  • Dizzy Gillespie

  • Charlie Parker

  • They made melodies more chromatic and far more complex.

  • They helped declare jazz an art.

New directions
New Directions

  • Fusion- combination of jazz and rock- now includes electronic keyboards

  • Not popular with Jazz purists because it obscures two fundamental pillars of jazz: basic forms and improvisation.

The future of jazz
The Future of Jazz

  • Like most forms of music- Jazz continues to reinvent itself and adapt.

  • This creates an enormous diversity of style

A short history of jazz
A Short History of Jazz