* Harlem Renaissance *
♫ Music ♫
Jazz Music Jelly Roll Morton's Bio "Dead Man Blues"
20th century, a new generation of black musicians created a
flourishing African American culture known as the Harlem Renaissance, a
time when the blues and the jazz were hot.
It was also known as "the best of times," but also
"the worst of times" because even though blacks and whites
joined on the dance floors at night and shared tables at the newest
blues and jazz clubs, racial discrimination still existed.
Racist policies and sentiments still separated Americans in all
aspects of life, and as a result, tensions grew between the whites and
blacks. Other than racism,
music during the Harlem Renaissance was the bomb, especially jazz music.
jazz music was developed around the 1900s in New Orleans. Jazz
is the most important contribution by the American black musician to the
art of the music. Jazz is
about feeling, and therefore no need for a definite definition.
Jazz music developed from slave
work songs and religious spirituals, their text being about their lives
and their yearning for freedom, to get away from the pain and agony.
different types of jazz including Dixieland, blues, swing,
boogie-woogie, ragtime, New Orleans, Chicago, and New York.
The style of jazz differentiated from the earlier styles because
of the distinguished use of improvisation, which means in jazz, to
compose spontaneously while performing (usually by playing variations of
the melody or of a theme). Jazz
music presented a rest from Western musical traditions (classical
music), where the composer wrote a piece of music on paper and the
musician plays exactly what was is written in the score.
In a jazz piece, the song is often in
framework for the musicians
to improvise around. Also,
unlike the classical style where there are rules for melody and harmony,
jazz music is not bound by rules, and while the melody and harmony go
together to create a pleasant tone, jazz has a clashing sound called
essential element of jazz music during the time was called a syncopated
rhythm, one in which the weak beats are accented; this syncopated rhythm
grew out of classical music.
Many of the musicians during the Harlem Renaissance were not very skilled at reading the scores, and some could not read music at all. However, their playing thrilled and motivated audiences, and the improvised jazz music they produced gave the audiences a joy and feeling of experience that was an exciting and radical departure from the music of that time. Thus, African American musical styles became the leading influence in 20th century music during the Harlem Renaissance, and therefore had a deep and lasting effect on the development of some of America’s most important cultural traditions.
Jelly Roll Morton's Biography
World War I, music began to change, and hence, the Harlem Renaissance
evolved, a time in which black musicians found fame.
There were nightclubs featuring many of the great jazz musicians,
certainly including Jelly Roll Morton.
a mixed breed of French and African American (Creole), grew up in New
Orleans around 1885. He
struggled constantly to avoid being classified as black; however, he was
never fully accepted in white society and never comfortable in black
circles. As a result, he
became close to becoming an outcast.
However, Jelly received his fame later on in his life
youthful experiences in music inspired him in many
Firstly, playing around with a variety of instruments such as the
drums, harmonica, violin, trombone, and piano, gave him a start in
composing in his later years.
Jelly grew up in New Orleans, a city where music was the vital source of
he began to travel to different places such as New York and Los
to begin performing, and during his travel times, Jelly combined a
variety of black musical styles including ragtime, vocal and
instrumental blues, religious hymns, and spirituals with Hispanic music
from the Caribbean and white popular songs, creating a musical mixture
Jelly was the first great composer, a piano player of jazz, and a band leader of the famous jazz band called the Red Hot Peppers. Besides being celebrated and popular, he was a sincere person whose spirit shone deeply through history. Succeeding as a piano player he became an important transitional figure between ragtime and jazz piano styles.
"Dead Man's Blues"
ofa Nation – Harlem Renaissance movie
Handout – Jazz
Langston. Famous Negro Music Makers. NY: Vail-Ballou Press, 1955.
Jesse Bryant. Nexus The Harlem Renaissance. OH: Pallas Communication,