You sit back and watch fingers glide across the piano as electric blue lights provide the perfect silhouette to the accompanying saxophone. You hear the sultry sounds that move across the room on wisps of smoke, and you start to sway as the music takes over. Rhythmic under tones, blue notes, solos, and earthy melodies bring the soul alive. These are the sounds of Jazz. Whether it’s Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, or Etta James; jazz music seems to bring out a playful seductive side in all of us that we didn’t realize was there.
The history of Jazz in the United States dates back to the early part of the 20th century. From Rag Time and Blues to Big Band, Jazz music has been a part of our culture for over 100 years. So why does this style of music, more so than others, bring out such a passionate display of emotion? Because Jazz music is emotion.
The early 1900’s saw a surge of “opportunity” in America; which later was coined as the “land of opportunity”. With slavery not yet abolished and immigrants coming over from across the seas to find work, there were many stories to be told. Elements of work songs and songs of the soul melded together to become what is known as “ragtime” music. But it wasn’t just the people that brought this style of music to life; the culture and diversity of cities like New Orleans, New York, and Chicago all played their part. As more settlers came over from Europe and Africa, musical traditions from all over the world began to unite. Bringing together fractions of people that otherwise were separated by prejudice and cultural divide. African American musicians merged with European musicians; taking their collective styles of music such as blues, big band, marching band and ragtime, too create a new kind of music- Jazz.
As radios and record players became more widely used; jazz music began to spread to homes across America. With the emergence of WWII, and later the Civil Rights Movement, jazz music became the epi-center of expression; pouring out our emotions, our fears, our anxieties, and our love, into songs that gave us hope and fed our souls.
In the 21st century jazz has yet again re-invented itself; fusing together old and new to create such music as acid jazz with classic blues, retro swing and smooth jazz standards. With a surge of new age musicians such as Michael Bublee, Nora Jones, or Ravi Coltrane; jazz music has cemented itself as a mainstream style of music.
As our musical archeologist, it will live on through the airwaves long after we’re gone; carrying the stories of our past, our present and our future.
You are Invited this week during Rochester International Jazz Fest!
Freed Maxick CPAs loves jazz music, and will have a Jazz Tent for the entirety of the Rochester International Jazz Fest June 21st- 29th! Stop by during the festival and surround yourself with the soothing sounds of live performances, food, and a cash bar. The Little Theatre, a club venue for the Festival, will also have ticketed events inside. Check out the schedule below:
- Fri., June 21, 5:30-7:30: Josh Netsky l 8:30-10:30: GRR Band
- Sat., June 22, 5:30-7:30: Connie Deming l 8:30-10:30: Annie Wells
- Sun., June 23, 5:30-7:30: Stoney Lonesome Band l 8:30-10:30: Harmonica Lewinsky
- Mon., June 24, 5:30-7:30: Maria Gillard l 8:30-10:30: The Jane Mutiny
- Tues., June 25, 5:30-7:30: Steve Grills and The Roadmasters l 8:30-10:30: Significant Other
- Wed., June 26, 5:30-7:30: The Russell Fielder Trio l 8:30-10:30: Margaret Explosion
- Thur., June 27, (PRIVATE EVENT) l 8:30-10:30: The Pickpockets
- Fri., June 28, 5:30-7:30: Josh Netsky l 8:30-10:30: GRR Band
- Sat., June 29, 5:30-7:30: Michalea Davis l 8:30-10:30: Annie Wells
Artist highlights here: http://interactive.wxxi.org/jazzfest