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Two Historical Periods of Jazz: Bebop and Fusion

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  3,459 Words (14 Pages)  •  1,712 Views

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Two Historical Periods of Jazz: Bebop and Fusion

History of Jazz-Final Paper

What is Jazz you may ask? Well, jazz is more than just uneven beats and notes. It was much more. Jazz has helped Americans get through the worst of times. Two world wars and a devastating depression were plaguing Americans at this time period. Jazz was creatively describing how you felt, what you've been through, while peeling away layers of complicated people (Ward and Burns 2000, vii-ix). It was about celebration, freedom, and happy times too. As once quoted by Wynton Marsalis, "Jazz music celebrates life-human life. The range of it. The absurdity of it. The ignorance of it. The greatness of it. The intelligence of it. The sexuality of it. The profundity of it. And it deals with it in all of it's…it deals with it." (Ward and Burns 2000, xi) Jazz music was therapy for many souls throughout time and continues to heal and sooth our hearts to this very day. Some people listen to music to find motivation; some, to relax their mind and soul. Sometimes it may only be a particular type of genre or style, either way, pretty much everyone listens to music and is affected by it. People listen to music and follow it as a lifestyle. "When the music changes, so does the dance." (proverb n.d.) This famous quote relating to Jazz, describes how the music changes society. From time to time, a new style of jazz would come out and people would go crazy over it. But, two of the most influential periods of Jazz, are the Bebop and Fusion sub-genres.

Before we jump into Bebop and Fusion, we first must learn a little about the history of Jazz itself. The early history of jazz first began from the 16th century, when the black slaves were shipped to the New World, and they would sing to make work and life more bearable. The songs were a way to express themselves. They sang of oppressions and sorrows, along with hopes and aspirations. The owners or masters allowed them to sing and dance in hopes that this would make them work more efficiently and keep them happy. The plantation and blues songs played a large part in the merging of early jazz music, composed of blues, ragtime, and mainstream popular music, much later on (Hitchcock and Sadie 1986, 535) and (Latham 2002, 627). One of the earliest known types of jazz is New Orleans Jazz, also known as "Dixieland", since New Orleans is widely known as the birthplace of jazz (Hitchcock and Sadie 1986, 537). (Although it is known that jazz was springing up all over the United States in the second decade of the 20th century (Latham 2002, 628). It is said that jazz originated in New Orleans because in the 1800's, the slaves would congregate on Sundays to Congo Square and sing of freedom and hope. Jazz didn't become widely popular


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