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Jazz music arrived like an avalanche on the American scene and it grew in all directions like an octopus. Its growth was unplanned, like the growth of greenery in the thick jungles of Amazon…
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.
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