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Soul Paper

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Did We Do That Or Did It Just Happen? The19th Century saw jazz develop from folk blues music in the Deep South, to an internationally recognized art form. This process of development incorporated increasingly complex techniques and expressed a wider and more profound range of human emotion and experience. Jazz, although uniquely American in origin, is an art form that combines many different cultural influences and musical traditions such as Classic Blues and Country Blues. Excellent jazz players, such as: Duke Ellington, Jimmy Lunceford, Cab Calloway, Artie Shaw, and Count Basie all came from different parts of the United States with differing backgrounds. However, many of the innovators and leading voices, were black Americans, the descendants of slaves. This concurrence between the black population in the United States and jazz music has led to much political and sociological debate. The essential lines of the dispute put those who see jazz as an art form which transcends questions of race against those who contend jazz as a black product, therefore, belonging to black people. ...read more.


With 50 years of hindsight, however, the change appears much less dramatic. In fact, bebop's musical advances were firmly embedded in, and to a certain extent anticipated by, the best jazz players who preceded it. Bebop however did implement more significant changes, both musical and nonmusical, with the advent of bop than at any other time in jazz history. With this being said, some of these considerable changes were in technique and attitude toward performances. Consequently, there were also changes of attitude towards the audiences participation. Because of its almost "cut-time" time measures, Bebop became the first jazz style that wasn't performed for the sole purpose of the audiences participation through dancing. Therefore, many Bebop bands faced great changes in their repertoire. With the change of repertoire and audience participation, there was also a shift away from the widespread popularity of The Swing Era enjoyed to a more elitist listening audience. ...read more.


Jazz was usually tied to dancing or to backing entertainers who sang and danced. Bop marked the point at which both the musicians and their audience became widely conscious that jazz was an art form. For the first time serious listening to the music, especially the improvised solos, became primary. The musicians concerned themselves, for the most part, more with developing the technical aspects of the music and increasing its aesthetic qualities, rather than just creating something that would enlarge their audience, and therefore their wallets. Clearly the pioneers of bebop were originals, not just musically but also original personalities who could not be appropriated or imitated at the time because they placed themselves well outside the mainstream. If society would not recognize black people's artistic achievements, seeking instead to sanitize and assimilate the music that was born of the original African-Americans' experiences in this country, then why should black musicians continue to function within the mainstream? ...read more.

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