jazz history tree

One response to “jazz history tree

  1. Great article. Your perspective is insightful. I’m New Orleans born and raised. I’ve been playing 53 years. Trying to fit jazz in one box or another does the idiom no good in furthering the music. Local musicians here regard the musical legacy left by all the generations before us in highest regard. Playing only one style is a limitation very few musicians here can afford. It is as simple as this in New Orleans if you are going to limit your style of playing to one genre you are going to limit your source of income. Audiences here come to hear jazz. Most don’t know the defining aspects of what that is other than what they like. Here in New Orleans the most authentic “New Orleans” jazz is played at Preservation Hall. The idioms played here are as varied as the venues. The owners of venues intentionally will vary what “Styles” are played to attract different audiences to come into their venue. Not everyone likes the same thing musically. This lends itself to diverse audiences and local artists. In any week musicians may play with four or five different bands. Each paying a different style of jazz. Audiences leave New Orleans all believing they’ve heard “Authentic” New Orleans jazz. It’s all a matter of perception and what you’ve been exposed to. Over analyzing has limited jazz in all its idioms since the very beginning. In New Orleans, before the music was ever recorded, it wasn’t even called jazz. It was music played in brothels for patrons and called “Jassy” music. Later that morfed into “Jass”. In the early 20th century that was changed to “Jazz.” all the while, even then, the musicians went where they could play to earn a living. Going to Chicago was an outlet for black musicians to play to larger more diverse audiences. In the end it was about playing to larger audiences and making a living.

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