Jazz

“Jazz” and early variants “jaz” and “jas” have uncertain and contested roots. The term may or may not have origins in Chicago, New Orleans, Africa, baseball, or sex, although all would make sense given subsequent associations. We do know that the word “jazz” was, during the 1910s, increasingly used to describe a musical orientation (if not quite a genre) being developed by composers, solo pianists, and ensembles of various size. This music was hybrid, incorporating elements of African American blues and religious song, Caribbean dance genres, U.S. popular dance and folk music, marching band music, European classical music, ragtime piano, and the transplanted, modified West African rhythms that shaped some of these and other constituent forms. The music’s hybridity plotted its emergence at a particular set of coordinates in Black diasporic time and space. It sounded a contradictory postemancipation experience defined by movement across regions, from country to city and …

This essay may be found on page 105 of the printed volume.

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