Roaring Twenties: The Rise Of Jazz During The Harlem Renaissance

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It was 1920 in New York City, a certain ineffable aura pervaded the musty city air, an aura that would allure dreamers for the decade to follow. The nouveau riche flocked to New York, where they could live out their dreams with other idealists. This sparked what is now known as the Roaring Twenties, a romantic period characterized by its optimism and nonchalance. Concurrently, the city also saw one of the most important movements in African American history: The Harlem Renaissance. This was the migration of African Americans to Harlem in search of employment, which followed the first World War. These two disconnected worlds coexisted in the same city and once they started their imminent collision course, they found that jazz music would turn …show more content…
The foundations of these defining characteristics stem from blues and ragtime music that was brought to America by West African slaves during the 19th century. This was a popular genre of music for the newly arrived African American slaves as they sang about hardships that were universal and understood by all. However, subsequent to the end of the Civil War, the African Americans disseminated throughout the country, prompting the evolution of the genre. The cultural shift not only in values and philosophies but also in their newly gained freedom, gave birth to jazz. New Orleans is said to be the birthplace of jazz music from the years 1910 to 1915. As the black community began experimenting with different instruments not available to them in the past, they created a unique sound that was a potpourri of their indigenous West African beats, blues and improvisational melodies. They formed jazz bands typically consisting of a “cornet, clarinet, trombone, tuba or bass, piano, banjo, and drums” (Britannica). One of the first jazz bands that arose from the New Orleans’ jazz scene was the Original Dixieland Jass Band. They were the first band to ever release a jazz record, and their song (released on May 30th 1917) “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” became an instant success. At this time, vocals …show more content…
Starting in the year 1919, “around 500,000 African Americans in search of better employment opportunities moved to the northern part of the United States. With them, they brought their culture and in New York, the start of the Harlem Renaissance”. Among the 500,000 people, many were coming from New Orleans. Many jazz musicians and bands coming from New Orleans tried to find jobs as professional musicians in New York. By the the year 1920, jazz music had already reached cities, but had not reached the mainstream. So the black community started their own clubs in Harlem where jazz musicians would play. The most popular of these clubs was called the Cotton Club. “The Cotton Club was the most famous of the city's nightclubs in the 1920s and 1930s, attracting an audience that often included the cream of New York society. Its glittering revues provided a medium for performances by the most prominent jazz musicians of the day, and the club's activities were brought to a wide audience by frequent broadcasts” (“The Roaring Twenties”). Attracting people from all over the city, the Cotton Club brought the African American culture out of Harlem and into New York City’s popular culture. At this time, there was a wave of new jazz musicians that arose from the Harlem

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