Why jazz is so popular: a historical perspective

Most people consider jazz the only true American art form. It originated in the US, and even though it was not called jazz when it was first played, it has always been different. Jazz was first heard hundreds of years ago among the slave population, who composed songs to pass the time, express themselves and keep their culture and music alive. It was only in the 1900s that the music of the black people was officially named jazz. Slavery ended, at least on paper, around this time, but African Americans still did not have the same rights as everyone else. If there was one thing that seemed to equalize everyone, it was that jazz was enjoyed by both sides.

What makes it unique?
Jazz has all the same elements as other musical genres. It has the memorable melodic tunes that are likely to be remembered everyone. It has harmony, the notes that add onto the melody, making it fuller. It has the unique rhythm, the heartbeat of the song. All these are available in almost every other record. What all male or female American jazz vocalists will tell you, though, is that jazz offers the gift of improvisation. You must not have an elaborate plan; there are sometimes no long discussions with bandmates. You just get on stage and play. It is this freedom and spontaneity that made jazz so popular. It gives vocalists and performers so much freedom to express themselves and their emotions.

It is not just the vocalist that gets to take center stage; the rest of the band also enjoys some part of the spotlight. In jazz, just like in most genres, a melody starts a song, but then as the song progresses, each of the musicians take turns playing and improvising with all kinds of notes. As one performs, those who are not on the spotlight support them on the background.

Washington DC
Few cities have a place as important in the history of Jazz as Washington. New Orleans is considered the birthplace of Jazz, but it is in Washington that it truly came of age. That it has now grown to be one of the most popular musical genres is down to the fame it found in these cities.

It is hard to come by a jazz vocalist as talented as Sylvia Brooks. Visit her website to talk to her management team or find booking information.

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