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Breakthroughs in American Jazz The backdrop was New Orleans in the late 19th century a growing port city with a diverse population of African Americans whites displaced French settlers and immigrants from the West Indies and South America This hodgepodge of cultures mixed European influenced popular music such as ragtime with tradition African music creating the hybrid musical style known as jazz Jazz bold and beautiful in its purest sense demands high instrumentation mastery creativity and improvisation combined with low rehearsal and repetition Unlike opera or symphony music jazz dates back a little more than a century ago and finds all of its major developments occurring in the United States Jazz is constantly changing and evolving From the beginning to now there are six distinct styles mimicking American life for the past century What started out as ragtime turned into early jazz with musicians like Jelly Roll Morton Kid Ory and King Oliver Politically and economically the Great Depression changed everything including the sound and style of jazz music Quartets became less popular because people wanted music with more of a punch this was the movement of swing and the big band In the early 1940s two different jazz styles were developing bebop and coolwest coast jazz Musicians not satisfied with the rules regarding big band music limited opportunities for improvisation and musical experimentation began to break those rules regarding how music in the jazz style should be created and how it should sound The last two steps in jazzs evolution is Hard Bop and Avant-GardeFree Jazz Hard Bop is a hard driving descendant of bop and Avant-Garde Jazz is boundarieless jazz that freque frequently uses honks and squeaks in the music encompassing all ranges and sounds from the instruments Ornette Colemans 1960 album Free Jazz in 37 minutes of complete collective impersonation A Tribute to Charlie Parker Birdmen Birdsongs was a jazz festival recorded in January 1990
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