This paper will provide an analysis of the development of jazz in the United States. After a brief overview of the history of the art form, the paper will turn to an analysis of some of the major types of early jazz--ragtime, blues, New Orleans jazz, the Big Band, and Bebop. Finally, the paper will conclude with some of the personalities that made jazz such a vital and exciting art form: Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Charlie Parker, and Thelonious Monk.
During the 1920s, while European classical music was being "turned upside down" by such composers as Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky, the United States was quietly, developing its own distinct and separate musical form with a decidedly unclassical name--jazz. At this point, jazz was not the product of a handful of composers or formal creative innovators. Instead, it was a relatively unsophisticated folkmusic, more sociologically motivated than musically, coalesced from a variety of sources into a distinct idiom (Schuller 3).
The legacy of the art form, so distinctly American yet international in its flavor, remains globally popular and one of the easiest American idioms to recognize. In fact, jazz has become far less the popular, afterhours style than an imitated and distinctly American musical form that continues to be imitated even within the classical genre (Ames 55). Jazz is not only imitated in the classical genre, however; several of the new generation of rock singers, some even jazz trained, are interpolating their own brand of jazz into the American popular music scene. This legacy continues the popularity and growth of the medium, which show little chance of abating (Bland 77).
As a medium, jazz developed from the multifarious traditions brought to the new world in part from Africa, in part from the various European styles that made their way into American culture. Commenting on the nature of the beg...