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Black Contributions to Music: Jazz

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We cannot continue to discuss the Black contributions to music without acknowledging jazz music. 

Jazz originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was created within the Black communities of New Orleans, influenced by blues and ragtime. Like many modern genres, jazz has roots in West African musical tradition and slave folk songs, it also is influenced by European classical music. 

Jazz and its creators also influenced music in general; the drum set was created by jazz musicians and jazz has influenced genres like R&B, rap, and classical music. Jazz has also influenced and been adopted by other cultures, resulting in new musical genres like CuBop, a form of Latin jazz invented by Cuban musician Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillepsie. It has been absorbed into many different genres, exemplified by singers like Beyoncé compiling elements of jazz within their pop style. 

The jazz genre is influential to our society not only for its contributions to other genres, but the incredible influence it has had on Americans. Jazz is instantly recognizable, but unique. The creativity of the genre and its nuanced features is known to help with focus, especially while studying. The genre also helped bring forward African-American influence to music, especially important in the polarized mid-1900s. Jazz music helped Americans across the board recognize Black history and culture as important and desirable, and furthered the position of female musicians as female jazz artists gained prominence in popular culture. 

Check out some of the best Black jazz musicians like Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Miles Davis. 

Hope you enjoyed! 

– Miranda

Sources: I, II

By Miranda

I am a senior in Political Science at NC State and lover of R&B, rap, international, and electronic.