10 April 2010

Jazz...a musical genre born out of rebellion!!!!

Not many of us know about Jazz & its origins. That such a beautiful musical genre was actually born out of rebellion did take me by surprise. As I began to read about it, I realised that it had a very long history. This intrigued me enough to write a bit about where & what might have prompted its conception.

Jazz is actually a music genre that originated in the US as a form of confrontation by the blacks who were forced to listen & learn European music. The music has a special relationship to time, called as 'swing' & requires one to constantly improvise, be able to accept & be open to different kinds of music, thus developing ones own individuality. Thus we find that a skilled performer can interpret a tune in many different ways, never playing the same composition exactly the same way twice. This may be the reason why we find different variations of the same song!!!!

The early singers of jazz were the African American slaves who after being freed, came to make their own music, combining their tribal music traditions with mordern European instruments like the violin as a form of entertainment. Musicians like Buddy Bolden (called the first man of jazz), Louis Armstrong & Bessie Smith can be largely credited to giving this genre the impetus it needed in establishing itself.

This music genre has also given rise to its own dance form, called 'swing', the steps of which were used in our very own old hindi movies. Although at first Jazz was mainly played by the African american community, due to the fall of aparthied, other European singers too began to sing in the style thus making its usage more widespread. It can single-handedly be credited with giving rise to other musical genres like European Jazz, Dixieland music, Bebop music, Latin Jazz, soul, funk, punk, smooth & acid jazz etc which was mostly done by mixing jazz with various other musical forms.

Among the more recent singers, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra & Johnny Hartman are ones we might have heard of who have kept this genre alive & am sure that no matter what happens, this musical genre will continue to live on & adapt thus increasing its versatility!!!

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