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Evolution of Jazz - Essay Example

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Evolution of Jazz

Many of the Jazz musicians relieved themselves from racial, social and cultural tensions in their hometown and spread Jazz music as ambassadors of their new found freedom. Hence, between the First and Second World Wars (1914 – 1940) Paris adopted Jazz music as its own. In this way, there was a huge transformation of Jazz music from an African- American genre to becoming an iconic phenomenon of international repute. Jazz music, that began with small marching bands, big bands, or by piano and banjo solos soon disintegrated as the focus centered on smaller ensembles. The Jazz musician I have chosen to write about is Louis Armstrong, (1901 – 1971) who is considered to be one among the best of Jazz musicians. Born in New Orleans on 4th August, 1901, Louis overcame his poverty-stricken background and rose to become one of the greatest solo improvisers in the field of Jazz music. Louis played the trumpet in a very innovative and interesting way and his style relied on improvisation during his playing the trumpet. He also pioneered a new style of singing called ‘scat’ which is improvising during singing without real lyrics but in perfect tempo and melody. Armstrong had a sort of gravelly voice and besides his virtuosity in his trumpet playing abilities, he was quite famous for his ‘scat’ singing. In fact, he holds the record of being the oldest Jazz artist to have cut a No. 1 record at 63 years old, which is called ‘Hello Dolly’. What is most spectacular about this record is that it toppled the Beatles by reaching number 1 on the charts in 1964. ‘Hello Dolly’ (1964) was the chart-buster title song for the award winning musical ‘Hello Dolly’. This wonderful song also won a Grammy for the best vocal performance by Louis Armstrong which enthralled his audiences all over the world. It was later made into a movie where Armstrong appeared and dueted with Barbara Streisand. Composed by Jerry Herman , ‘Hello Dolly’ is a very vibrant and catchy number rendered with equal enthusiasm and energy by the famed Louis Armstrong. The song begins with a rhythmic syncopated style using instruments. After the instrumental introduction, Armstrong begins singing in his own inimitable ‘scat’ singing style. He has a deep voice that is highly expressive of the lyrics ‘Hello Dolly’. The band comprising of saxophone, drums and trumpet played by Armstrong himself lends complete support in between the vocals. The interlude of ‘Hello Dolly’ is quite a lengthy one, with the trumpet as the main instrument and the other instruments filling in to add a different flavor. His flair for innovation is a major plus point for this singer as he uses a lot of improvisation both in his trumpet playing as well as in his singing. Some of the rhythmic beats used are long while others are staccato in presentation. Armstrong’s voice is throaty and guttural but even so very captivating. The pace of the entire song is medium paced while the tone is highly energetic with snatches of highs and lows that give it its own uniqueness and beauty. The final bar of the instrumental part has Armstrong improvising into a crescendo and this is duly answered by the supporting saxophone. Immediately after the interlude, Armstrong takes over and concludes the piece by singing using both lyrics as well as syncopated sounds that makes it so unique and attractive. Armstrong is considered to be one of the greatest Jazz musicians of all time who has ...Show more

Summary

Evolution of Jazz Order No. 827668 Introduction During the turn of the 20th century, that spanned over three centuries, a new style of music called ‘Jazz’ took birth in New Orleans. This new artistic medium was so unique that it attracted and influenced musicians worldwide…
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