Jazz Photography

Jazz

Jazz originated at the turn of the 20th century in the African-American communities of New Orleans, where a melting pot of cultural diversity resulted in a merging of musical traditions. The fusion of African rhythms and self-expression with European harmonic structure and instrumentation—along with foundational components improvisation and syncopation—resulted in a unique genre hailed as “one of America’s original art forms.”

Jazz has been developing new forms of expression ever since—nearly every decade of the 20th century saw the introduction of a distinctive style. From big band and swing in the formative years to mid-century bebop to later avant-garde and fusion, Jazz has undergone many transitions. Innovative artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Miles Davis accelerated Jazz’s advancement with an ever-increasing musical complexity.

Although Jazz was born out of the black experience in America, numerous cultures have contributed to—and sought expression through—this evolving musical form. It is heard and performed across the globe, and represents one of America’s greatest cultural exports.

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