Chapter Overview

While jazz is commonly said to have begun in the first decade of the twentieth century, it is also rooted in the cultural trends that reached back far into the nineteenth century. This chapter explains how jazz synthesized various kinds of (primarily African American) music making, such as those found in:

  • Folk traditions, with the emergence of the blues circa 1900, and the development of the blues as a commercial genre (the classic or vaudeville blues of Bessie Smith);
  • Popular culture, including the ways in which public images of African Americans were shaped by the blackface tradition of minstrelsy, the birth of ragtime in the late nineteenth century, and the long tradition of African American professional dance musicians; and
  • European concert music, including marching bands. This chapter also discusses the radical changes in dance music in the first two decades of the twentieth century and the impact of new technologies of radio and recording.

Chapter 3 Jukebox