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Snippet of Graveyard Shift: Jazz Has Roots in American Slavery.

From Audio: Episode Six: A Brief History of Jazz

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Duration: 08:02
When black slaves were stripped of their belongings all they had was the music in their heads. Much of jazz was only played in brothels and bars due to segregation.
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When black slaves were stripped of their belongings all they had was the music in their heads. Much of jazz was only played in brothels and bars due to segregation. Bands began mixing races in the 1930s. Europeans began to catch on to the genre, especially in France, when soldiers brought over records during WWI.
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so a definition of jazz is actually really disputed, even though, like Official Music Dictionary doesn't want to give us a solid definition. So for the sake of this podcast, I'm just going to define it as a collection of sub genres. And we'll gettinto why that is later. Jazz has roots way back to the slavery years of America, when black people were brought over from Africa, they were stripped of all of the material belongings. All they had left waas the music in their head. So as generations past, and they would be working on farms with horrific labor for really long hours, they would sing to help pass the time to distract them and to use music as an escape. Well, eventually, slavery ended. And so as they disbanded, new musical genres began to form. One of those was the blues, which we're not going to talk about in this episode. But right around the turn of the century, right around 1900 the development of ragtime was a huge step towards jazz. Ragtime is so named because it features Syncopation, which is Thea emphasis of off beats. So if I were to do something like do do do do. A syncopated rhythm was on like Dio that's giving it a different kind of ragged feel. And so that's why they call it Ragtime and I'm going to play for You the 1st 30 seconds or so of The Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin, which was one of the first Ragtime hits. And it was enjoyed all the way up until the world Wars, and it regained popularity in the seventies again. And as you listen to it, just focused on how it makes you feel. It's catchy, it's Dancy. You get stuck in your head and you want to hear more of it. And this version I have for you is played by the composer himself. So enjoy. Oh, isn't that so cute? I love that piece. So I moved out of my room and I'm recording in a different spot. So I'm sorry if I sound more echoey or if you can hear my roommates. Jazz was really focused in New Orleans in kind of the shadier parts of town. New Orleans was a great place for a Jonah to develop because it was kind of a crossing point of people in the Caribbean and the people in the South and everyone up and down the Mississippi Delta. So this is why I say jazz is more of a collection of sub genres than a big genre itself. It had influences from everywhere in that part of the globe. So we have your Hispanic influence, jazz. We have your Creole influence, jazz. We have your Haitian influenced jazz, and then we have your all American Southern jazz. And then we have jazz from the North. And so there's all these different genres that all come together to mix and grow in New Orleans. A lot of that growth happened in Storyville, which is the Red District part of New Orleans, because jazz was mainly a black style of music because of its roots, and segregation was rampant at the time and absolutely legal, and it was awful. And so the only spaces available for them to play in were brothels and bars, so that already didn't give them a great image. And at the time the Prohibition movement was going, it was having a great time. Prohibition would be enacted in 1920 in 1917, Storyville was shut down and the performers were chased out to other places and jazz being linked to a story bill and everything that came with it was originally really looked down upon, especially by the white people. The white people did not like it at all. Of course, everyone's super religious still at the time, and they link prostitution and alcohol, drinking and jazz all in the same boat. So all through the 19 tens and twenties, jazz remains sort of an underground, sketchy style of music with black musicians. But as time progressed into the thirties, the band's stop being segregated and more white players were playing with the black players, and bans began to be mixed race, which is huge for the 19 thirties. If you think about it, the civil rights movement didn't even happen till the fifties and sixties, and even after them, there's a lot of racism. So the thirties were definitely ahead of their time. So up until the 19 twenties, jazz was purely American and it was on Lee American influences. But Europe began to catch on, and especially in France, jazz took hold. This was partly due to the fact that the First World War brought American soldiers overseas, and they brought jazz with them and the French heard that. And we're like, Oh, this is pretty cool And so they started replicating it to make their own kind of off brand version. But in America is where the O. G style really developed. Be Bob came around in 19 forties and Be Bob is intense. It's the first kind of jazz that wasn't meant to be danced to, and it's referred to a lot as musicians. Music. It's very fast. There's a lot of intricate things that just make it fun to play, not necessarily fun toe Listen, Thio. So I'm going to play you a brief example of bebop, and it's called Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Job Speak. And it's not the easiest to listen to, so I'm not going to subject you to too much of it. But listen to how it's quite a bit different from even the music you're used to hearing and how it's definitely not meant to be danced Thio, and it's just kind of weird. It's different from other forms of music because, like I said, it's really fast. It also has some interesting chord progressions and with lots of key changes in improvisation and just occasional references to the melody in the improvisation. But it's still jazz. It has that movement feeling that they believe practice. So please enjoy a short selection from salted peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie.
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