Jazz: what is it, what directions, who performs

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Jazz: what is it, what directions, who performs
Jazz: what is it, what directions, who performs

Video: Jazz: what is it, what directions, who performs

Video: Jazz: what is it, what directions, who performs
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The origins of modern jazz are rooted in African musical culture. After Christopher Columbus discovered a new continent and Europeans settled there, ships of human traffickers increasingly followed the shores of America.

Exhausted by hard work, homesick and suffering from the cruel treatment of the guards, the slaves found solace in music. Gradually, Americans and Europeans became interested in unusual melodies and rhythms. This is how jazz was born. What is jazz, and what are its features, we will consider in this article.

Jazz. What?
Jazz. What?

Features of the musical direction

Jazz refers to music of African-American origin, which is based on improvisation (swing) and a special rhythmic construction (syncope). Unlike other areas where one person writes music and another performs, jazz musicians are also composers.

The melody is created spontaneously, the periods of writing, performance are separated by a minimum period of time. This is how jazz comes about. What is orchestral improvisation? This is the ability of musicians to adapt to each other. At the same time, everyone improvises their own.

The results of spontaneous compositions are stored in musical notation (T. Cowler, G. Arlen "Happy All Day", D. Ellington "Don't You Know What I Love?" etc.).

Over time, African music was synthesized with European. Melodies appeared that combined plasticity, rhythm, melodiousness and harmony of sounds (CHEATHAM Doc, Blues In My Heart, CARTER James, Centerpiece, etc.).


There are more than thirty styles of jazz. Let's take a look at some of them.

1. Blues. Translated from English, the word means "sadness", "melancholy". Blues was originally a solo lyric song by African Americans. Jazz-blues is a twelve-bar period corresponding to a three-line verse form. Blues compositions are performed at a slow pace, some understatement can be traced in the texts. Notable blues artists include Gertrude Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and others.

2. Ragtime. The literal translation of the name of the style is broken time. In the language of musical terms, "reg" denotes sounds that are additional between the beats of the measure. The direction appeared in the USA, after they were carried away by the works of F. Schubert, F. Chopin and F. Liszt across the ocean. The music of European composers was performed in the style of jazz. Later original compositions appeared. Ragtime is typical for the works of S. Joplin, D. Scott, D. Lamb and others.

Jazz blues
Jazz blues

3. Boogie Woogie. The style appeared at the beginning of the last century. The owners of inexpensive cafes needed musicians to play jazz. What is musical accompaniment involves the presence of an orchestra, of course, but to invite a large number of musiciansit was hard. The sound of different instruments was compensated by pianists, creating numerous rhythmic compositions. Boogie Features:

  • improvisation;
  • virtuoso technique;
  • special accompaniment: the left hand performs a motor ostinant configuration, the interval between bass and melody is two or three octaves;
  • continuous rhythm;
  • pedal out.

Boogie-woogie played by Romeo Nelson, Arthur Montana Taylor, Charles Avery and others.

Style legends

Jazz is popular in many countries around the world. Everywhere there are stars, which are surrounded by an army of fans, but some names have become a real legend. They are known and loved all over the world. Such musicians, in particular, include Louis Armstrong.

It is not known how the fate of a boy from a poor Negro quarter would have developed if Louis had not ended up in a correctional camp. Here, the future star was recorded in a brass band, however, the team did not play jazz. What is the blues, and how it is performed, the young man discovered much later. Armstrong gained worldwide fame thanks to diligence and perseverance.

The founder of jazz singing is Billie Holiday (real name Eleanor Fagan). The singer reached the peak of popularity in the 50s of the last century, when she changed the scenes of nightclubs to theatrical stages.

Life was not easy for the owner of the range of three octaves, Ella Fitzgerald. After the death of her mother, the girl ran away from home and led a not too decent lifestyle. The start of the singer's career was a performance at a music competitionAmateur Nights.

jazz style
jazz style

George Gershwin is world famous. The composer created jazz works based on classical music. The unexpected manner of performance captivated listeners and colleagues. Concerts were invariably accompanied by applause. The most famous works of D. Gershwin are "Rhapsody in Blues" (co-authored with Fred Grof), the operas "Porgy and Bess", "An American in Paris".

Janis Joplin, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis and others were also popular jazz performers.

Jazz in the USSR

The appearance of this musical trend in the Soviet Union is associated with the name of the poet, translator and theater-goer Valentin Parnakh. The first concert of a jazz band led by a virtuoso took place in 1922. Later A. Tsfasman, L. Utyosov, Y. Skomorovsky formed the direction of theatrical jazz, combining instrumental performance and operetta. E. Rozner, A. Varlamov, O. Lundstrem did a lot to popularize jazz music.

In the 40s of the last century, jazz was widely criticized as a phenomenon of bourgeois culture. In the 1950s and 1960s, attacks on performers ceased. Jazz ensembles were created both in the RSFSR and in other union republics.

Today, jazz is performed freely in concert venues and clubs.