Impact Of Jazz On American Life

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Jazz: A Reaction to American Life
Jazz, the “purest expression of American democracy; a music built on individualism and compromise, independence and cooperation” has had a great impact on American life since the early 1900s (Burns, 2009). When jazz first emerged on the scene, it immediately made a profound impact on all individuals who experienced it. It didn’t matter who you were. This being said, jazz was especially life changing for the African American population. It opened the door of opportunity for this group of people, and they quickly grasped onto this chance before it could disappear. The development of jazz can be viewed as a reaction to American life because it worked as a form of expression, placed an emphasis on collaboration,
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Jazz, in a sense, released African Americans into a whole new world of opportunity because these musicians finally had the opportunity to compete on the same level as everyone else (Harker 2005, p. 13). Jazz was unlike anything America had ever heard before; the white population couldn’t seem to get enough of it. As a result, African Americans, for the first time, felt actually “desired” and “needed.” Jazz seemed to give them a purpose and place in a society that had worked so hard to degrade them over the years. Duke Ellington played a big role in helping African Americans improve their fortunes through jazz (Harker, 2005, p. 91). He dedicated his whole life to promote their culture, and because of his hard work, he is still known as the greatest composer that jazz ever produced. Jazz truly changed the ways in which the African American people were viewed in America. This alteration was a very positive one. As you can see, the development of jazz was a reaction to American life, specifically for the African American culture, because it allowed these individuals to freely express themselves, promoted a greater sense of teamwork, and helped them become more accepted in everyday society. Looking back at the early history of jazz, it is incredible to see just how impactful this form of music has been on the lives of so many. There is no question about it; jazz truly transformed the American society and continues to impact our everyday lives

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