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The Roots of Jazz






 

A number of regional styles contributed to the early development of jazz. Arguably the single most important was that of the New Orleans, Louisiana area, which was the first to be commonly given the name “jazz” (early on often spelled “jass”).

The city of New Orleans and the surrounding area had long been a regional music center. People from many different nations of Africa, Europe, and Latin America contributed to New Orleans’ rich musical heritage. In the French and Spanish colonial era, slaves had more freedom of cultural expression than in the English colonies of what would become the United States. In the Protestant colonies African music was looked on as inherently “pagan” and was commonly suppressed, while in Louisiana it was allowed. African musical celebrations held at least as late as the 1830s in New Orleans’ “Congo Square” were attended by interested whites as well. In addition to the slave population, New Orleans also had North America’s largest community of free people of color, some of whom prided themselves on their education and used European instruments to play both European music and their own folk tunes.

Chicago was one of the first cities to embrace the new style, and from some accounts it was here that the New Orleans style was first popularly christened “jass”. Back in New Orleans, it was called by such names as “ratty music”, “hot music”, or simply “ragtime”. The style was so different from the ragtime and dance music of the rest of the nation, that a new name was needed to distinguish it. Apparently, the first band billed as playing “jass” was that of trombonist Tom Brown. The word jazz itself is rooted in American slang, probably of sexual origin, although various alternative derivations have been suggested.

Early jazz influences found their mainstream expression in the marching band and dance band music of the day, which was the standard form of popular concert music at the turn of century. The instruments of these groups became the basic instruments of jazz: brass, reeds, and drums.

Many black musicians also made a living playing in small bands hired to lead funeral processions in the New Orleans African-American tradition. These Africanized bands played a seminal role in the articulation and dissemination of early jazz. Traveling throughout black communities in the Deep South and to northern big cities, these musician-pioneers were helping to fashion the music’s howling, raucous, then free-wheeling, “raggedy”, ragtime spirit, quickening it to a more eloquent, sophisticated, swing incarnation.

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning African-American composer and classical and jazz trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis:



 

“Jazz is something Negroes invented, and it said the most profound things – not only about us and the way we look at things, but about what modern democratic life is really about. It is the nobility of the race put into sound … jazz has all the elements, from the spare and penetrating to the complex and enveloping. It is the hardest music to play that I know of, and it is the highest rendition of individual emotion in the history of Western music.”

 

(from Wikipedia)

 

 

I. Paraphrase the following:

 

a) The single most important style was that of the New Orleans, Louisiana

b) Chicago was one of the first cities to embrace the new style

c) the New Orleans style was first popularly christened “jass”

d) the first band billed as playing “jass”

e) Early jazz influences found their first mainstream expression in the marching band ...

f) These Africanized bands played a seminal role in the articulation and dissemination of early jazz.

 

II. Find in the text the English equivalents to the following words and phrases:

 

a) медные и деревянные духовые инструменты, ударные инструменты

b) уличный оркестр

c) народные мотивы

d) «цветное население»

e) музыкальное наследие

 

 



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