The, A Modern Jazz Musician Essay

1435 Words Mar 17th, 2016 6 Pages
Wynton Marsalis, a modern jazz musician stated, “Through improvisation, jazz teaches you about yourself. And through swing, it teaches you that other people are individuals too. It teaches you how to coordinate with them.” Though Marsalis was not alive during the Harlem Renaissance, his statement could not have matched its motif more fully. Jazz was a language that both white and black Americans could speak. It was an intersection that allowed insight into the reality of segregation. During the jazz era, people would watch the same performers frequently because they used improvisation. With this technique, every performance would be unique (Independence Hall Association, 2014). Author Gerald Early of Washington University (2010) stated that swing was another technique among jazz musicians. Swing was full of rhythmic riffs; if you were to play two quarter notes in swing, you would play them as a dotted quarter note and an eighth note. However, swing became very popular, causing a systemized sound. Many musicians grew tired of performing this way, so they began experimenting, generating progressive jazz, cool jazz, structureless jazz, and bebop. Jazz was considered low class music, sometimes even being referred to as “devil’s music”. Jazz artists often incorporated themes of illegal drugs and interracial sex, which was not taken lightly by higher class African Americans and whites. Through experimentation and time, jazz became more of a professional form of music,…

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