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Jazz is arguably one of the most treasured art forms within the U.S given the manners in which it has shaped the music artistry not only within the nation but also globally. These spheres of influence are inclusive of the varied musical archetypes that have emerged as well as numerous geniuses who envisioned and designed the respective musical beats that continue to rock the very tenements of the present global musical output. Perhaps in recognition of this fact is the rationale behind declaration of the genre of music as a sensitive and significant American treasure by such state associations like the congress.
It is the only artistic expression that appealed to both the racial divide at a time when there was evident a massive animosity amid the varied racial groupings. As a product of cross-cultural interaction, the genre is obviously an instrument of peace. This paper goes back in time and observes some of the key musical works since the 1900s and attempts to unearth the varied manner in which artist have managed to stay in tandem with the characteristic changes of the genre of music. In particular, it attempts to examine the extent to which their innovativeness has altered the genre over the past century.
Both Townsend (2004, P. 30) and Faulker & Becker (2009, P. 123) agree that jazz emanated from a musical interaction amid the varied inhabitants of the new lands. It resulted from the mixing of European classical and African American folk songs. Faulker & Becker also observe that ragtime was amid the first archetype to emerge followed by Dixieland and subsequently the on set of the contemporary jazz through the emergence of the big band. According to Townsend (2004, p. 31), the overall built of the music has atypical influence of West African music. This is evident in both its written form as well as its manner of performance. Its rhythm has a characteristic swing coupled with a polyrhythmic tone as well as an extensive improvisation and syncopation.
In the course of the past century, this genre brought with it dissimilar overtones as varied artists brought newer aspects and subclasses of the music. Lee (2009, p. 51) observes that beginning with such musical archetypes like Dixieland from which a rose big band, which evolved into the famous, be-bop. Be-bop steadily developed into fusion, which had the distinct aspect of both the Latin and the contemporary free jazz. Under the influence of the varied cultures a given genre interacted with, it evolved into a distinctively newer version of the original jazz archetype.
Dixieland is arguably one of the earliest forms of jazz. Porter (2002, P. 23) observes that this genre of musical artistry is in numerous ways referred to as the hot jazz or the New Orleans jazz. Evidently, this naming is in response to its purported origins from New Orleans at the turn of the preceding century. Reportedly, amid the hits under this auspice are the globally acclaimed songs such as “when the saints go matching in’ amid numerous others. Porter (2002, p. 24) observes that the construct of this style embodies earlier brass band matches, collective aspects of ragtime and blues as well as a collectively immense polyphonic improvisation.
Amid the numerous Dixieland artists is Louis Armstrong. Despite his huge influence in the varied jazz styles, Louis is perhaps one of the greatest musicians of the foreseeable human civilization. Porter (2002, p. 27) observes that his trumpet abilities were unimaginable. As both player and singer of the earlier jazz establishments, Louis is responsible for the establishment of the trumpet as a solo instrument in jazz performances. While in overall, he influenced the varied aspects of jazz; his distinct performances aided the establishment of Dixieland as s formidable style of jazz.
Observably, the term Dixie was the result of the establishment of the initial high hit album the Original Dixieland jazz association in the eelier years of the past century. According to Porter (2002, p. 29), the characteristic Dixie sound is evident in musical peaces when the principal instrument, like the trumpet, plays the accompanying melody or outlines a characteristic paraphrase or distinct variations of the said instrument. This aspect registers an increased polyphonic sound that coherently reinforces the main playing musical band. Porter (2002, p. 30) suggests that the ability to generate a distinct sound that polyphonically ignites a loud coherent band output is the main defining aspect of the Dixie tune. However, despite its huge successes at the turn of the newer century, owing to the hugely altering jazz styles, the emergent of newer style immensely reduced its influence. The Dixie band album was the furthermost hit and highly sold album under this style of jazz.
One of the musical pieces that succeeded the Dixie was the big band. Shipton (2002, p. 154) observe that the big band has close association wit the swing era with its typical rhythm, utilization of brass and the renowned woodwind. Reportedly, such a band totaled a whopping twelve to twenty five hugely talented musicians. With a standard of 17 pieces of instruments, the archetype built itself as one of the principal musical styles.
According to Shipton (2002, p. 157), a standard arrangement of the band comprise fie saxophones of varied tones, four trumpets, four trombones with a critical base characteristic and four pieces of rhythm instruments comprising drums, base and accompanying acoustics. Being a hugely varying musical genre, the arrangements of the musical instruments took varied shapes that depended on among other things the taste of the band crews and their intended output. However, the output was always a multi variation sound so typical of the swing era of the early ninetieth century.
Of significant is how renowned artists such as Louis Armstrong adapted to these newer styles of jazz. Shipton (2002, p. 159) observe that alternating styles of jazz was the result of varied trials by the artists themselves and as a result expressed the extent of their individual talents and combined group talents that propelled them to higher levels. Additionally, subgenres such as big bad, was a collection of dissimilar talents into one conglomerate of musical talent. As hugely talented trumpet player, Louis moved from the solo player that was typical of the initial Dixie era, to the combined efforts of their varied talents which produced a spectacular result.
According to Shipton (2002, p. 160), the earlier style allowed dismal improvisation that is typical of any jazz music. However, with the emergence of swing in the 1935s, the rigidity disappeared as the strong violin back up was immensely reduced. Evidently, as newer artists sprung with newer styles, older artists either retired or adopted the newer style to assist to remain commercially viable. Artists like Paul Whiteman and Armstrong were renowned players were able to adopt making who continuously adopted themselves to the newer aspects of the music making evident influence in this field.
The end of swing gave birth to the newer version of jazz called Bebop. According to Townsend (2004, p. 33), the emergent of Bebop was in the 1940s and attained a full maturity in the seventies. Reportedly, this version of jazz had a characteristic fast tempo, virtuosity of instruments and extensive improvisation. It combined such constructs as harmonic structure and evident melody. Townsend (2004, p. 35) observes that numerous players are renowned for the emergent of the highly improvised style of jazz. These are Charlie Christian and Dizzy Gillespie who all claimed the then newer style.
However, it was not until the 1940s that a newer generation of ambitious musicians envisioned and designed a newer style that emanated from the edging swing music. They emphasized a newer type of music that countered the hugely popular dance music emphasizing more on listening than dancing. Townsend (2004, p. 36) names individuals like Bud Powell and Charlie parker as amid the leading advents of the newer style. Reportedly, having endured the soloist characteristics of the swing genre, they practiced with pianos and other instruments to try the newer style.
Structurally, the newer style differed distinctively from the aging style of swing. Townsend (2004, p. 41) observes that it lacked the direct compositions that characterized the swing. Key in its composition was faster tempos, unbalanced musical phrasing, complex melodies and rhythmic sections that performed the additional role of tempo control. Another dissimilar construct from the swing is the fragmental and nervousness that lacked in the evidently organized swing music.
In the extended genres of jazz was the fusion. Townsend (2004, p. 43) observes that this style of music emanated from a mixture of funk and rhythm and blues. According to him, it combined the hugely amplified and the electronic functionalities of rock musical genre together with such characters as time signatures that were never within the typical construct of a western musical peace. Structurally, this musical style comprised the usage of wind and brass characterized with high display of instrument use. Jazz continues to evolve through mixture with other cultures across the globe and increase in individual instrument improvisation and technique.
In conclusion, jazz has evolved from the typical music that called for freedom to the present day mixture that is embraced by different societies and ethnic groupings. Jazz greats like Armstrong made their mark within the industry with great instrument technique as well as excellent singing abilities. While numerous artists retired with emergent of newer styles, other thrived through improvisation, adoption, and institution of the innovative styles.