The Basic Elements Of Jazz In Louis Armstrong's West End Blues

871 Words 4 Pages
Jazz has always been revolutionary. From its early beginnings as ragtime and blues, this music has swept the nation. Before jazz, “white” music dominated the United States, but soon enough classical music and folk songs were being replaced by songs that pushed the boundaries of music. African rhythms and hymns had taken flight and radically changed music in America by creating jazz. Music, as the world knew it, had been traded for something encompassing a whole new set of rules that began to transcend a new frontier to become known as “the only music that… the world recognizes as American” (O’Meally, 415). After the end of the nineteenth century, it was safe to say that mainstream music had been forever changed.
Since its foundation in the
…show more content…
During the 1920s he believed in putting emphasis on the virtuosic soloist, instead of on the melody of the band as a whole. In the song, “West End Blues”, Armstrong clearly demonstrates his skills as a genius artist on the trumpet, as can be heard at 0:50, while also paying homage to the sultry tones common to the New Orleans jazz scene. “West End Blues” is a perfect example of a classic jazz song. It has that underlying beat that makes you want to tap your feet and the syncopation and polyrhythmic elements throughout define the basic elements of jazz which can be hard to compare to the sounds of Beethoven or the Buffalo Gals. Armstrong’s style and stress on the soloist are reflected in the songs of another great trumpeter; Miles …show more content…
He moved from swing to bebop to cool jazz to hard bop and kept on going, but the thing that remained constant throughout his “genre hopping” was his unequivocal talent as both an improviser and musical innovator. Miles was a revolutionary – he changed the name of jazz and spearheaded its evolution into something it had never been before more time and time again. In his song, “So What”, Miles, like Armstrong, pays homage to the virtuoso, but he also includes a lot of improvisation, of which can be heard starting at 1:31 and continues throughout the rest of the song. His improvisation, along with that of the saxophone and piano players, when compared to the background melody, are different enough while still staying true to the song, that it creates something artistic while still sounding put together. This style, born of innovation and improvisation, is still present in today’s jazz, and can be heard when listening to the unclassifiable jazz of Snarky

Related Documents

Related Topics