"acrylic painting by Lionel
What is Jazz? "Man, if you gotta ask you'll
~ Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong ~
"It is from the blues that all that may be called
American music derives it's most distinctive characteristics."
~ James Weldon Johnson ~
of an Ex-Colored Man
"Jazz is known all over the world as an American
musical art form and that's it. No America, no jazz.
I've seen people try to connect it to other countries,
for instance to Africa, but it doesn't have a damn thing
to do with Africa."
~ Art Blakey ~
Jazz Roots, 1890-1935
The "birth" of jazz music occurred roughly
in the period from 1890 to 1935, a time when disparate
musical sources unified in a distinct form that marked
the transformation of local black folk expression to
the commercial product of the national music industry.
Well before the first jazz recording of 1917, the syncopated,
march cadence of ragtime and the bent, blues notes of
the folk spiritual and work song flourished in the vibrant
urban black community of New Orleans. As the number
of black Southerners joining the Great Migration rose,
the uptown style of the Delta was urbanized in the dance
halls, theaters, and cabarets of Chicago and New York
City. From New Orleans to New York, early jazz instrumentalists
furthered the fusion of classical style and folk improvisation
that came to distinguish the jazz sound. Jazz:
Marking Time in American Culture