Jazz Education: A Timeline
Usually defined as a type of music that heavily incorporates syncopation and improvisation, jazz is an incredibly far-reaching genre of music that has a rich history behind it. Although many may take it for granted today, it traces its roots to the days of slavery and turbulent times of racial upheaval. Over the years, jazz not only influenced other genres of music, but it also drew influence from these very same areas. As a result, jazz has grown and evolved tremendously through the decades, spawning a number of sub-genres. Have a look at its development to develop a thorough appreciation for this wonderful form of music.
1817– The New Orleans City Council proclaims that African slaves are allowed to use Congo Square as their designated space for singing and dancing on Sunday afternoons. It soon becomes the hub for “black music”.
1892 – Tom Turpin, the son of a former slave, becomes the first African American to have his music published. His composition, Harlem Rag, is the world’s first ragtime tune.
1899– Ragtime becomes ever more popular, with musicians such as Scott Joplin churning out scores of catchy pieces.
1901 – Ragtime music is increasingly published and now even sold to the public. In this same year, the American Federation of Musicians declares their decision to quell ragtime.
1902– This is a big year for jazz. Jelly Roll Morton audaciously claims to be the inventor of jazz, while Scott Joplin releases the ever-popular ragtime piece, The Entertainer, and Lincoln Park in New Orleans becomes the local ragtime and jazz venue.
1904 – Buddy Bolden, a cornet player, makes a name for himself in New Orleans by combining traditional blues with upbeat ragtime. Sadly, he only ever performed live, since mental illness prevented him from later recording his music.
1910 – The Clef Club, a New York group for only African American musicians, is established by the composer James Reese Europe.
1913 – “Jazz” (previously “jass”), a slang term denoting something indecent, is now associated with a genre of music and is even used in print for the first time. It would still be a few decades before it becomes a slang adjective with a positive connotation.
1917 – The genre of ragtime comes to an end, while Dixieland starts to make an appearance, starting with a group of all white musicians in The Original Dixieland Jass Band. Jazz musicians start migrating towards the northern states after the red light district in New Orleans is shut down.
1919 – Kid Ory, the famed New Orleans trombonist, takes jazz to the opposite coast when he moves to Los Angeles.
1922– The term race records or race music is used to (positively) denote music by African American artists. Record labels find that this music is wildly popular, selling in the thousands, and even millions!
1926– Louis Armstrong’s distinct type of singing known as scat catches on among other jazz singers.
1932– A new subgenre of jazz, called swing, starts to emerge.
1933– Germany’s Nazi party increasingly starts cracking down on jazz, due to its African roots, going as far as to ban it outright during the war.
1935 - Benny Goodman takes the bold step of recording jazz with a racially mixed group.
1936 – Harlem Hit Parade becomes the Billboard Magazine’s first chart dedicated to African American music.
1945 – Bebop makes its debut in Los Angeles thanks to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
1947 – As a sign of jazz’s unstoppable popularity, Louis Armstrong headlines at Carnegie Hall, with later appearances by Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald
1949 – A new record, Birth of the Cool, by Miles Davis introduces cool jazz to the public.
1954 – The Newport Jazz Festival becomes the first of its kind in the U.S.
1956 – Television takes note of jazz as NBC premieres The Nat King Cole Show.
1959 – Free jazz is the next subgenre to emerge, initiated by Ornett Coleman’s album, The Shape of Jazz to Come.
1966 – Duke Ellington’s considerable influence and contributions to music are commemorated when he receives the President’s Gold Medal of Honor.
1969 – The first book to examine the origins of jazz is published by the composer, Gunther Schuller.
1970 – Pianist Joshua Rifkin’s rousing renditions of Scott Joplin’s works trigger a ragtime revival.
1972 – New genres like funk and rock combine to create various forms of jazz fusion.
1978 – An unprecedented jazz concert is hosted at the White House by President Jimmy Carter to honor Charles Mingus.
1983 – The U.S. Postal Service celebrates Scott Joplin’s achievements by printing his image on a commemorative postage stamp.
1986 – Herbie Hancock receives an Academy Award for the soundtrack he composed for the film, Round Midnight.
1987 – A massive renewed interest in jazz spawns scores of new albums as well as reissues of former hits and classics.
1992 – Miles Davis merges his classic sound with the newer rap and hip-hop of the 90s in the album, Doo-Bop.
1997 – The American Jazz Museum opens in Kansas City.
2001 – The prestigious Juilliard school introduces a brand new program dedicated entirely to the study of jazz.
2003– Jazztronica, or nu-jazz, is a new sub-genre that merges the current popular electronica music with jazz.
2009 – Duke Ellington is the first ever African-American to have the honor of being featured on a coin in the U.S.
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