Joachim-Ernst Berendt wrote “Jazz has always been the concern of a minority—always” (3). In 1700s, music played a significant role in African American culture.
The roots of jazz can be traced back to the times of slavery where slave work songs were created in the form of ‘call-and-response’ to tell a story, and pass the time, a song leader would call out a line and the rest of the workers would respond to his call… Soulful songs called “spirituals” were also sung by slaves. These expressed their strong religious beliefs as well as their desire for freedom (Jazz History).
Work songs and spirituals were part of the establishment of jazz and these twin elements laid the foundation for this genre of music.
The pleasant-sounding music of the black community known as “Ragtime” impacted the American scene in the 1800s. Many European communities were migrating to different cities of America, by now known as the “land of opportunities.” Multiplicity of musical traditions arrived with immigrants. The African American composer Scott Joplin combined these traditions with the melodious music of the black community and provided it with a profound soul-force. “Ragtime” was born thus.
When in 1920, black people began migrating to cities like Chicago and New York to improve their financial prospects, they brought along with them jazz. The combustible younger generation of America liked this music. They rebelled against the old-fashioned ideas of their parents, surprisingly though! Jazz culture was responsible in a big way to the creation of genre of women known as “flappers”, who cut their hair and took to shorter dresses. Berendt wrote “Many great jazz musicians have felt the connection between their playing styles and the times in which they live” (4). Jazz music responded to the societal changes that were taking place, due to political, cultural, social and ideological developments that impacted the people. Thus “In the turn of the century around 1920, many artists made their mark by playing in the discreet underground nightclubs known as "Speakeasies" which are high class , "Blind pig" lower class or "Smokeasy" for smokers”(Jaaz Music). Jazz was on the move. The Breakthrough for Jazz New musical innovations were flooding the market and they brought music to the reach of the common man. Jazz music got shot in the arm. American airwaves, dance halls, auditoriums and homes reverberated to the melodies of jazz notes. In 1930s many jazz bands were formed and it became the most popular music. Its bouncing beat and swing music made the people rush to dance floors on a recurring basis. “However, thing were beginning to look up for Jazz Music once the invention of the record player or phonograph was made to play jazz albums. In addition, radio stations helped promote Jazz music, and made it popular among the public. Jazz Music became music of class that earned the era a nick name known as the "Jazz Age” (Jazz