Music has always formed a significant part in African American culture. The origin of Jazz can be dated back to the slavery period in 1700s when slave work songs were composed in the form of call –and –response. to narrate a story and kill time , a song leader used to yell out a phrase and the other fellow workers would respond to his call in a rhythmic manner. They also sung spiritual songs to express their yearning for freedom and their solid belief in religion. The components of both work and spiritual songs formed the foundation of jazz music.
In the era of 1800s, America came to be known as land of opportunities. Many Europeans immigrated into the country and occupied various cities in hunt of luck and better life. These immigrants brought with themselves a variety of musical cultures such as French quadrilles, Irish gigs and German waltzes. Scott Joplin, an African American musician, blended the newly introduced music styles with the existing rhythmic and melodic black community music to produce a hybrid style which came to be known as ragtime.
In 1900s, New Orleans played a vital role in the evolution process of jazz music. These groups of people had originated from diverse cultures and this united musical traditions from various parts of the world. African American composers intergrated European musical culture with other music such as ragtime, blues and marching band to generate a new style of music which was known as Jazz. The music was concentrated in South where it was sung by women having short hair and wearing short dresses.
In the year 1920s, the style began to migrate to northern areas such as Chicago and New York. The record players also became extensively available in the stores and radios. Due to this, the music gained a lot of popularity and it migrated from being played only in southern area to a major music in America’s dance halls and homes.
In 1950s and 60s, free jazz approach to jazz music was developed. This involved altering, extending and removal of fixed chord changes and tempos from the jazz convention. Majority of the musicians combined the free jazz concept with idioms and this made it to be not considered as a distinct genre. The technique was described as an attempt to return the jazz music to its ancient, frequently religious, roots and emphasis on cooperative improvisation. Musicians like Pharaoh Sanders and john Coltrane utilized harsh overblowing techniques to draw out unique sounds from their instruments. They also created a progressive musical language which elicited earlier styles of jazz. During this era of 50s and 60s, Ornette Coleman pioneered many techniques classic of free jazz, most particularly his denial of pre-written chord changes, believing as an alternative that freely improvised melodic lines should form the basis of choral progression in his composition. Gary Burton who was a vibraphonist also brought a lot of live to jazz music in this era. Since then, jazz has progressed to evolve with coming up of acid jazz, classical blues, smooth jazz and with the latest being retro swing.