The roots of Jazz date back to the 1880's with African origins. Jazz combines elements of African music with elements of Western European music. The birthplace of Jazz is known to be New Orleans.
On the West Side of New Orleans lived the uneducated, culturally and economically poor African Americans. Their music was based on simple melodies and complex cross-rhythms mixed in with verbal slurs, vibrato, syncopated rhythms, and "blues notes". These songs were mostly spiritual or used to pass the time of hardship and hard labor. The songs were actually encouraging because the workers seemed to work better with the music. Their music was created more by memorization and improvisation.
The Creoles are people who are originally from the West Indies and lived under the Spanish and French rule in Louisiana. They had formal knowledge of Western European music. They became free Americans under the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The Creoles spoke Spanish and French and lived in the high society of the French district in New Orleans. Their music focused on sight-readings and correct performances.
In 1894, the segregation laws were made and were put in effect in New Orleans, which made the upper class Creoles have to live on the West Side with the poor uneducated African Americans. The mixture of the two styles of music and two cultures clashed and created the start of Jazz.
Louis Daniel Armstrong, also known as “Satchmo” or “Pop’s” was one of the greatest jazz musicians during the 1920s. He was one of the first important soloists to emerge in jazz. He was born on August 4th 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
As a youngster, he would sing on the streets with his friends. In 1913, he was arrested for a prank and committed to the Waif’s Home which is where he learned the cornet and how to play in a band. On his release he began performing with local groups such as Joe “King” Oliver.
When Armstrong moved to Chicago in 1925 he began his solo career. In 1928 he started recording with drummer Zutty Singleton and pianist Earl Hines. Armstrong was a huge success. He was considered the “Jazz King”.
On July 6th 1971 Armstrong died of a heart attack. His music inspired all jazz mucisains and is heard even in today’s society.
In the 1920’s, Chicago held great opportunities for musicians. The city was dominated by gangsters and their cabaret and dance clubs. The "New Orleans sound" spread all over Chicago. While still called "New Orleans Jazz," the jazz played in Chicago was more proper and less wild than it was in Louisiana. Jazz musicians who chose to move up the river to Chicago quickly lost the "primitive" sound that came from New Orleans. Jazz became "polite" and directed at the white and middle class audiences who attended the dance halls in Chicago. Early Chicago jazz music had been performed in black neighborhoods, and the white jazz enthusiasts had to go to the African American areas to hear jazz music.
As jazz grew the clubs became segregated. There were separate clubs for African American and white audiences. The music that played in "Negro clubs" was faster and wilder than the jazz played in white dance halls, but even the jazz in the "Negro clubs" was in comparison to the jazz of New Orleans. King Oliver is the best example of the shift in style that occurred when musicians moved from New Orleans to Chicago. King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band was highly successful in New Orleans, and were known for their unconventional instrumentation and perfect balance.
Jazz Poetry & Fashion
During the 1920s, music and jazz merged and the genre of jazz poetry was created. The Harlem Renaissance and the influence of African American writers and intellectuals substantiated the intellectual and spiritual appeal of jazz music.
During the course of the 1920s, women’s hem lines became shorter and so did their hair and men’s pants became baggy. Jazz influenced these fashion trends.