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Word Count: 2,455
Jazz History I Introduction Jazz is the art of expression set to music Jazz is said to be the fundamental rhythms of human life and mans contemporary reassessment of his traditional values Volumes have been written on the origins of jazz based on black American life-styles The early influences of tribal drums and the development of gospel blues and field hollers seems to point out that jazz has to do with human survival and the expression of life The origin of the word jazz is most often traced back to a vulgar term used for sexual acts Some of the early sounds of jazz where associated with whore houses and ladies of ill repute However the meaning of jazz soon became a musical art form whether under composition guidelines or improvisation jazz reflected spontaneous melodic phrasing The standard legend about jazz is that it was conceived in New Orleans and moved up the Mississippi River to Memphis St Louis and finally Chicago Of course that seems to be the history of what we now refer to as jazz however the influences of what led to those early New Orleans sounds goes back to tribal African drum beats and European musical structures In reviewing the background of jazz one can not overlook the evaluation over the decades and the fact that jazz spanned many musical forms such as spirituals cakewalks ragtime and the blues Around 1891 a New Orleans barber named Buddy Bolden reputedly picked up his cornet and blew the first stammering notes of jazz thereby unconsciously breaking with several centuries of musical tradition A half-century later jazz Americas great contribution to music crossed the threshold of the universities and became seriously even religiously considered Jazz functions as popular art and has enjoyed periods of fairly widespread public response in the jazz age
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