This is the core part of my blog, about understanding the roots and development of Jazz through time. The links below lead you to the respective posts on the topics mentioned.
Before heading out, it is important to have a rough idea about the territory about to explore, that is why I got myself a high level map of the Jazz history first.
Amongst other, Ragtime is mentioned as a key influence for the early Jazz, so I decided to look into Ragtime then and now.
New Orleans provided a unique breeding ground and the Jazz Big Bang happened there. I found it interesting to understand how the journey had started.
Soon afterwards however, Jazz started to move out of New Orleans.
Two topics arising about the same time in history caught my attention – firstly the advent of recorded music (post Traditional Jazz records for “Victor” owner, and some better sounding alternatives), and secondly the extreme conditions under which African-American musicians performed due to racism. Racism, which the musicians fought against with their own weapons (post The Other Side of Jazz).
At the end of the 1920ies, the advent of Swing started and Jazz got really big. Despite the Great Recession the Swing years represent the peak in terms of popularity for Jazz. Speaking about Swing, I also looked briefly into the new version of Swing, Electro Swing, and asked myself whether it was still Swing? Another interesting investigation was how the Big Band Sound evolved through the Ages till today.
After a decade and a half, when World War II ended, Swing lost its steam. Bebop took over, the Hipster was born and Jazz lost the large audiences. Hardbop followed the Bebop, Understanding Bop looks into the two genres. In parallel Cool Jazz evolved and I found Five really Cool ones.
Then, yes then there was also Free Jazz, which I am not sure is really fun to listen to. While Free Jazz reduced further the Jazz audience, Fusion Jazz tried to bring the masses back and was, at least for a short while, quite successful.
In the 80ies of the last century, things started to become a bit messy. From then on, many Jazz genre would co-exist and therefore the linear history telling stopped there. Hence, it might be more appropriate to focus on individual artists, which stand for a certain style. For example John Zorn and Wynton Marsalis (could there be a bigger difference?). But there were also others in that decade.
More will follow.