Jazz is not something you listen to when it gains popularity due to another new wave of trending music. It’s a taste you develop overtime and learn to appreciate in all your moods. If you live and breathe for jazz, join the club.
At Razzmajazz Dixieland Band, each one of us understands the real value of our art and the music we create with it. Each of our clarinets, trombones, trumpets and guitars has a life of its own. Music is meant to be experienced and enjoyed at any and every occasion and that’s what we’re here to do.
Jazz music is a vast branch of music that has transformed over time from the trad jazz style it began with in early 20th century to contemporary-style modern jazz. Born in New Orleans, the original styles of jazz still have a local flavor that distinguishes them from other genres. It was only over time that drums and pianos entered the scene, and fiddles and banjos weren’t the only instruments used.
Let’s swing by some of the old traditions in jazz and explore the variations in this genre.
Original New Orleans Jazz
It was in the later segment of the 19th century that the earliest versions of jazz music were heard. Even though the music we hear today as jazz is rhythmic and upbeat, back then it used to be played at funerals and processions to complement the occasion. It’s only now that Razzmajazz Dixieland Band performs at events and places like Six Flags Over Texas, IBM, Globe Life Park, Children’s Medical Center, Main Street Arts Festival—Fort Worth, and Denton Arts and Jazz Festival.
Typically the earliest jazz bands had a front line of clarinet, trombone and coronet, whereas the banjo and tuba managed the rhythm. The tuba covered the bass whereas the melody was led by the coronet, followed by counter-melodies made by the clarinet. The accent that you find in original jazz was the flourish added by the rhythm sections. It was only until Dixieland style took form that music was accented this way because later the focus was on 2 and 4.
As mentioned, jazz music is more about the evolution it experienced than the moment in history it was born. Dixieland style was more of a continuation of the original New Orleans music than an exclusive genre in itself. It was when jazz bands moved from New Orleans to other places that performances changed and so did the requirements of the musicians.
In Chicago, traditions didn’t make it compulsory for musicians to perform on the go so they included pianos in their range of instruments. Similarly, tubas were also replaced by stand up string basses, and that had an effect on the sound of music entirely. Rhythms accented the 2 and 4 of the beats, which led to rhythms like RnB and rock-n-roll.
If you go into the technical details of music composition, ragtime music can’t really be called jazz in its most original form. This is because there’s little improvisation in this style. But because the popularity went up alongside the original New Orleans jazz, it adopted some of the melodies from the latter. It’s considered one of our classical music genres that are a unique composition of music, unlike the ones seen in the early times.
New Orleans music makes you want to automatically swing to the beat but ragtime jazz lacks the swing quite as much as it is in the original music. Some musicians that were the forerunners of this style of jazz include the well-renowned pianists, Jelly Roll Morton and Scott Joplin. This style became known towards the end of the 19th century and early 1900s was when it was recognized and celebrated as classical music.