j. michael howard
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What is jazz
quotes and excerpts from musicians , writers and historians


lionel lofton "Jazzy"
Jazzy "acrylic painting by Lionel Lofon


What is Jazz? "Man, if you gotta ask you'll never know."
 ~ 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 ~  Autobiography 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



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