The class of Jazz (Black History 365)

In this entry for Black History 365, I want to depict the talents of legendary figures in Jazz and it’s derivative forms such as Swing and BeBop to name a few. I had the pleasure of attending a Jazz exhibit at the Museum of African American History in Boston where I live next to and it was a good way to spend the afternoon learning the history of a musical genre I listen to consistently. In regards to that, even though Jazz has its roots in New Orleans it would spread throughout the nation quickly to places such as New York and other cities have seen a rich Jazz history such as Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and in this case Boston. All these cities played a significant role in the development and popularity of jazz as America’s genre of classical music. There was Jazz played in Boston’s south end from the earliest days of the genre, and the city produced a sizable group of swing-era players. In the late 1940s and 1950s there was a tremendous amount of energy and creativity on and off the stage and this caused Boston to be a musical landmark of musical talent, a training ground for Jazz journalist, a proving ground for new approaches in Jazz presentations, and a magnet for musical education. Jazz did find itself having a decline in the years of the rock revolution, but with the help of the grassroots activist in the Boston Jazz Society and the Jazz Coalition they rebuilt the scene year by year, and finally laid the foundation for the jazz revival in the 1980s.

Boston was where the world was first exposed to the explosive drumming of Tony Williams, the dazzling saxophone player of Johnny Hodges, and the exuberant piano of Chick Corea. Furthermore, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday sang together at Symphony Hall. Jazz education was revolutionized by Louis Berk and Gunther Schuller in Boston and with the help of George Wein they created the Newport Jazz Festival that happens annually during the summer in Newport Rhode Island. When it comes to Jazz, Boston became a city of jazz heroes, sung and unsung and it continues to be a scene where this musical genre can thrive.

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