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Transcript of Jazz
Embraced yet challenged social shifts in morality and attitude
Laid the groundwork for later American literature with its treatment of the American consciousness using satire, wit, and irreverence THE JAZZ AGE THESIS As literature developed a new style, criticized the cultural poverty of American society, and pushed for change and cultural expression with the Harlem Renaissance, jazz reflected the loosening of American culture and the wave of social change. Having laid the groundwork for all later American literature and music, the relevancy and lasting impact of the era’s literature and music on the culture of both then and now is great. The Arts and Culture of Literature of the 1920s Literature reflected those shifts in societal values and attitudes.
Two big changes:
A generational shift away from traditional American values such as religious piety, family devotion, hard work, and idealism
Expression of anger at white society's treatment of African Americans by black writers - became known as the
Harlem Renaissance The Rise of Jazz Music By the late 1920s, Jazz music had became an eminent component of modern music.
Jazz provided black musicians with an art and a cross-racial public where they could express themselves during the 1920s.
The musical style paralleled the openness era that was emerging.
Jazz music originated in New Orleans. The big bands had reached a new height of artistic maturity.
Mostly, the result was of Duke Ellington (1899-1974). He created balance between written and improvised elements in his unique band, which began at an important performance at Harlem's famous Cotton Club in late 1927. Louis Armstrong (1901-1971), with his trumpet, led a successful career. He was the first important jazz soloist to emerge.
A key event in the evolution of jazz occurred when Louis Armstrong was taught to play the cornet at the New Orleans Colored Waifs Home. The blues stemmed from jazz, but has a darker undertone. The melancholy mood was achieved by flattened "blue notes". It was derived from Black spirituals and field work songs.
Among the sources of jazz music were the brass marching bands of black New Orleans, called Dixieland. They mainly did improvisation. Jazz outlasted the Jazz Age, but during the 1920s it expressed the exuberance of the era. Jazz is regarded as the only art form generated in America, and it has reached a world wide audience.
The Jazz era would pave the way for the Swing era in the early 1930s. Jazz was at first applied to a way of dancing to a type of music that was pretty funky. The rhythm is characterized by informality, syncopation, and a strong beat. The erotic associations of jazz music were reinforced by its involvement in the brothels and saloons of New Orleans, especially in the Storyville district, closed by the government during World War I. Jazz shared the impressionistic and postimpressionistic influences that characterized other art forms. Like the revolutions in literature, jazz pushed musical composition and performance into new realms. Among its major innovations, it underscored the emotional expressive possibilities of melody lines, the incredible colorfulness of popular rhythms, and the broadening of musical expression available to brass instruments, the piano, and the guitar beyond their traditional stiffness.
Thus, the Jazz Age, essentially, was a period of letting loose, just as the 1920s culture was. Through appearances at the Cotton Club, regular network radio broadcasts, and many recordings, Jazz music spread rapidly, with its popularity increased as a result. Nearly all of the great 1920s jazz figures were African American. Jelly Roll Morton claimed that he "invented jazz" around 1902 while playing ragtime piano in a New Orleans sporting house.
Other jazz pioneers were cornet players Buddy Bolden, King Oliver, and Bunk Johnson and clarinetist Johnny Dodds.
The innovations and achievements of these and other black musicians in the 1920s proved to be the first widespread fulfillment of black American talent and genius. From New Orleans, jazz worked its way up the Mississippi, and spread across America.
Chicago became the second major city for jazz; the speakeasies employed jazz musicians, and white patrons became educated by exposure to jazz.
Bix Beiderbecke developed his style by listening to the Chicago jazz greats. Beiderbecke was eventually labeled "The Greatest White Trumpet Player". Paul Whiteman was the most influential figure in making jazz seem respectable to Whites by moving performances from the speakeasies and black dance halls to theaters and cabarets patronized by whites. Called the Jazz King, Whiteman created quite a lot of music for relaxation and for dancing. The peak of Whiteman's successful efforts to popularize jazz was the 1924 concert where he played George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue".
Whiteman's symphonic jazz style stemed from but developed out of the spontaneity of Dixieland. After World War I (1914-1918), America entered a new phase in the pop and fine arts, following the post-war social trends.
American economy boomed after the war
Young people embraced more modern lifestyles
General loosening of morality
Loss of idealism as a result of the war's devastation
Shift in the American dream of success What Had Changed? Unique Style Built on the developing realist tradition and its impressionistic undertones of the preceding two decades
Humor and satire developed
Reflected the co-existing cynicism and exuberance of the 1920s
Popular targets: Politicians, financiers, intellectuals, puritans, reformers, feminists, and revolutionaries ----> pomposity.
Irreverence of culture reflected in humor Novels F. Scott Fitzgerald Ernest Hemingway Sinclair Lewis Poetry Ezra Pound
Robert Frost Harlem Renaissance Most influential movement in African American literary history
Sought to reconceptualize “the Negro” apart from the white stereotypes that had influenced black peoples’ relationship to their heritage and to each other
Laid the groundwork for all later African American literature and had an enormous impact on subsequent black literature and consciousness worldwide Examples Zora Neale Hurston Langston Hughes James Weldon Johnson Importance and Impact of 1920s Literature as a Whole