Ashley De Arce
MUS 110 42
Duke Ellington's C Jam Blues
Jazz, also known as “America’s Classical Music,” originated in New Orleans in the beginning of the 1910s. The official “Jazz Age” did not start until 1920. Jazz started as a mixture of classical music, blues, slave folk songs, and West African culture. The composition and style of Jazz changed throughout the years through interpretations and improvisations by performers. Jazz spread like wildfire not just through America but around the world; as it continued to evolve drawing new characteristics from different national, regional, and local music each creating their own distinctive styles.
Possibly one of the most prominent influences in Jazz music, Blues originated in the late 1800s by African Americans in the deep south may be one of the greatest influences in Jazz music. Blues is made up of spiritual songs, work songs, field hollers, chants, and simple rhymes and used to express sadness and depression. Like Jazz, Blues has also evolved with time, location, and influences. Usually classified by its lyrics, bassline, and instrumentation, early blues typically consisted of a single verse repeated four times. It was more narrative than lyrical, often relating to racial discrimination and life challenges.
As Blues progressed its melodies, forms, and the blues scale greatly influenced and embedded itself into Jazz Music. Renowned Jazz singers such as Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington often used 12 bar blues, and blues scales, producing numerous Blues recordings. Blues and Jazz are still greatly prominent in music today, elements of both shine through in other genres of music.
One of the most influential artists from the Jazz Age is Duke Ellington, though he did not consider himself a Jazz artist. Duke Ellington thought of his music as American Music and usually crossed genre lines. Born in Washington D.C. in 1899, Ellington started playing piano at the age of 7, though is love for music did not come until later, he was far more interested in baseball. Ellington’s love for music came after sneaking into pool rooms at the age of 14 and being exposed to ragtime music. He wrote his first composition “Soda Fountain Rag” at age 15 while working as a soda jerk. Moving to New York in 1923 for an extended residency at the Cotton Club really helped Ellington see his full potential in music. Leading a 14-man band of phenomenal Jazz artist in their right mind Ellington used their knowledge and skill to blend harmonies and showcase individual sounds. Like Blues and Jazz Music evolved and changed until the 1930s when he became the star of the swing era, and would even on occasion collaborate with other icons of the swing era such as Ella Fitzgerald.
Born in Virginia in 1917 Ella Fitzgerald known as the “First Lady of Song” originally wanting to be a dancer grew up to be a world-famous Jazz singer. Getting her start musically with the Chick Webb Orchestra, Fitzgerald recorded...