Discuss the roots of jazz and the elements of jazz that make it unique.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The roots of Jazz are strongly embedded in the African- America experience of the last nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Jazz is considered to be the fusion between the blues, spirituals, and the advent of syncopated rhythms with different instruments to create divergent harmonies and melodies.  Most credit its "official" start in New Orleans and then as African- Africans migrated North, it located itself in the Jazz clubs of Harlem in New York.  The distinctive features of Jazz was the unique and distinctive feature of syncopation, which was seen as creating a level of surprise in rhythm.  Breaks, pauses, and emphases were not predictable and in this, the development of Jazz as a genre of music emerged.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jazz combines ragtime, gospel, brass, and blues. This is what makes jazz music so unique as it blends many different genres of music. It also was a way for musicians to communicate their feelings in song.

New Orleans was one of the starting points for jazz music as there was a large African American population and they were the pioneers of jazz. Many jazz musicians moved north where jazz became very popular in Chicago in the 1920's. Many famous jazz musicians such as Earl Hines became famous there. New York was another mecca for jazz and was very popular there as well. The piano was incorporated into jazz music in New York.