Wynton Marsalis: Swing During The Harlem Renaissance

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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, …show more content…
Early (2010) expressed that jazz evolved from simple entertainment. For once, white Americans could not ignore the change in African American culture (The Independent Hall Association, 2014). According to the article, “46e. The Harlem Renaissance,” writers, artists, actors, and musicians exalted their African American customs, and established new ones. Jazz not only influenced musicians, it also affected artists and writers, encouraging them to be spontaneous, modern, and incongruous (Early, 2010). In Oppenheim’s article, “The Harlem Renaissance and American Music,” (2013) he stated that jazz recovered intellectual eagerness in the study of the history of African Americans and black

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