What is jazz?
Contrary to, for example, classical music, where the boundaries of what is and what is not classical music are quite clear, jazz is a type of music with less clear boundaries. An important characteristic of jazz music is that the musicians improvise parts of the music. Therefore a jazz song never sounds exactly the same twice. In order to be able to improvise well, the band members must be very well attuned to each other and be able to react well to the other. They have to be able to go along with the improvisation of the other at any moment, for which they need a well developed musical hearing. Also a characteristic of jazz music are church scales and complex chords.
History of jazz music
Jazz music originated at the beginning of the 20th century. This happened in the South of the United States, in New Orleans. Jazz music is not just one style, but it originated from different musical styles such as the blues, ragtime and spirituals. It originates from the Afro-American people of New Orleans, combining West African rhythms with other influences. In the beginning, jazz was not a popular style of music because it was associated with a low social status. Nevertheless, some jazz musicians in those days could make enough money with jazz music to live off and this gave a boost to the development of jazz as a new style. In 1917, jazz expanded beyond New Orleans. In Chicago, the band Original Dixieland Jass Band formed, consisting of white musicians. This jazz music was slightly less heavy and was therefore accessible to a wider audience, including the white population. After that, jazz became more and more famous in New York during the roaring twenties.