The History Of Jazz The first jazz was played in the early 20 th century. The work chants and folk music of black Americans are among the sources of jazz, which reflects the rhythms and expressions of West African song. Ragtime, an Afro-American music that first appeared in the 1890 s, was composed for the piano, and each rag is a composition with several themes. The leading ragtime composer was Scott Joplin. The first improvising jazz musician was the cornetist Buddy Bolden, leader of ab and in New Orleans.

The first jazz bands were usually made up of one or two cornet players who played the principal melodies, a clarinetist and trombonist who improvised counter melodies, and a rhythm section (piano, banjo, string bass or tuba, and drums) to accompany the horns. These bands played for dancers or marched in parades in the South. Some of the first New Orleans musicians were among the most stirring of all jazz artists. They include clarinetist Johnny Dodds, clarinetist-soprano saxophonist Sidney Be chet, pianist Jelly Roll Morton, and cornetist King Oliver.

The first jazz record was made in 1917 by a New Orleans band the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, made up of white musicians who copied black styles. The New Orleans musicians discovered that audiences were eager for their music in the cities of the North and the Midwest. In the 1920 s Chicago became the second major jazz center. White Chicago youths, such as tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman and clarinetist Benny Goodman, were excited by the New Orleans masters including the thrilling Louis Armstrong, who played in King Oliver's band.

The third major jazz center was New York City, and it became the most important. In New York, pianists such as James P. Johnson created the piano style by transforming rags and Southern black folk dances into jazz. Jazz was first played in the ballrooms and theaters of New York.

Louis Armstrong was among the jazz musicians who accompanied Ma Rainey and the rich-voiced Bessie Smith, the classic blues singers of the 1920 s. When Armstrong began singing, too, he scattered songs by improvising his own phrases and nonsense syllables. Billie Holiday was only a teenager when she began her singing career. She subtly changed the notes and rhythms of popular songs to give them new, often ironic meanings. Ella Fitzgerald was the popular favorite among later swing scat vocalists. The bop era, which lasted from about 1945 to 1960, was also the period of cool jazz.

Bop blossomed out of informal performances, in New York City's Harlem in the early 1940 s. Many bop pieces were played at the fastest tempos yet heard in jazz. Bop featured many-noted solos and unusual, quickly changing harmonies. The opposite of cool jazz was hard bop, which was played in the Eastern cities.

Hard bop was vigorous and energetic and emphasized the Afro-American basis of jazz. The 1950 s also brought forth composers who were not considered either bop or hard bop creators. The traditional forms of jazz songs were abandoned by Lewis, Nichols, and George Russell, who wrote complex, brightly colorful works for big bands. Chicago revived as a jazz center in 1965 when a cooperative, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, was formed to produce concerts and to teach music to inner-city youths. European enthusiasm about post-1960 jazz led to two important trends of the 1970 s and 1980 s.

First, improvising musicians from many countries were inspired to draw on their individual musical heritages to create new kinds of jazz. The most popular result of this trend to variety has been fusion music, which joins jazz, rock, and Latin-American rhythms. The concert on Wednesday night was pretty monotonous, my passion is for dance music and hard, uplifting beats, such as rap, rock, and house. I did enter the auditorium with an open mind, but jazz did not click.