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Early Jazz

II. Cultural Implications of Early Jazz

A. Newfound Freedom


The collective improvisation of Dixieland jazz represented, in part, African Americans' newfound freedom.

  1. Although hardly experiencing civil rights, African Americans were no longer slaves and celebrated their newfound freedom through jazz improvisation, playing whatever they wanted; they were not "restricted" to notes written on a page, but instead could play whatever they "heard" in their hearts and minds (the music was not read, it was played "by ear").
  2. Freedom was and continues to be an integral issue regarding all styles of jazz. 

B. Geographical Expansion


Early jazz made its way from New Orleans, to Chicago, to New York, to the rest of the country.  

C. Roaring Twenties and the Harlem Renaissance


Dixieland was the musical backdrop of city life during the Roaring Twenties and the early years of the Harlem Renaissance. 

the thelonious monk institute of jazz
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