Jazz music

The word Jazz originated in 1912 when Pitcher of Portland Beavers, Ben Henderson used the word to describe the ball that he would pitch the next day. He called it jazz as it would be wobbly and the batsman would not be able to handle the ball. It is supposed to be slang and so there is no etymology for this word.

In music Jazz is used for a musical form in America which started in the twentieth century. It is a mixture of African and American traditional music. The music is mostly influenced by blue notes, swung notes, syncopation and call and response. It has also adopted the nineteenth and the twentieth century popular music of America.


The origin of Jazz music can be dated back to 1808 when the Africans were brought to America as slaves. The slaves from West Africa carried the tradition of their tribal dance and music along with them which they used as a source of their entertainment on Sundays. The African music was functional and was used in a call and response pattern.

The blue notes on which Jazz music is based has developed from the pentatonic scale used in African music. Later on some of the slaves learnt to play the European instruments and they started using the instruments with their songs. The slaves also started incorporating the style of the hymns and used it as spiritual. The similarity has of the use of instruments and music is there to with the West African music style.


Jazz first evolved as rag music as the African slaves who had obtained freedom and education could not get any job due to segregation. They started playing in bars, minstrel shows and dances. Pianist began to play in clubs and brothels to earn their living. This gave birth to ragtime. The music from New Orleans also had a great impact on Jazz music.

The jazz musicians used the instruments which were basically used in the bands that were played for the dance or the funeral. Jazz was taken to the northern as well as the western part of US by the African American musicians. Then came the swing music which was meant for dance and this music used to be broadcast on the radio which lent a hand in spreading jazz to the other parts of US cities.

The European jazz evolved in France and as gypsy jazz in Belgium. From the eighties to the present day is called the fusion period in which many subgenre music was mixed with jazz to form rap jazz and acid jazz.

Popularity and Great Artists

Jazz gained popularity from the very beginning as its main quality was improvisation which always carried novelty as the musician never played the same tune twice in the same music which gave a special cut to the music. The great artists of jazz in the initial period were Scott Joplin, William Krell and Ernest Hogan. In the early nineteen's it was Kid Ory, Bill Johnson and the latest jazz musicians are Dave Brubeck, Charlie Haden, Chris Potter, Vijay Iyer, Terence Blanchard and many others.

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