Jazz Age Mamba

“Jazz Age Mamba”

The Jazz Age. A new and powerful force, expressive, informal, spontaneous. It gave new life to music, and characterized the roarin’ twenties. It was new, did not follow the old standards, had a gritty realistic feel, and was swept up in the tide of some of the greatest artists to ever play music. People like Duke Ellington, “King” oliver, and of course, Louis Armstrong. Jazz was the combining factor between colors at the time as well. Prejudice did not have a stand against the powerful music of the Jazz Age.
What exactly is Jazz? Simply put, it’s a type of music that uses impromptu style and spontaneous playing. Artists took what the music said, and changed it on the spot while they played, viewing the sheet music as more of a guideline to how the piece should be played. The spur of the moment solos and duets usually took on the mood of the artist, and gave each new playing a unique sound, as well as adding the overall play style of the artist to the mix. It came in a variety of distinct styles, such as Swing Jazz, which was primarily stringed instruments, and the more generic, yet still moving, styles that were a conglomeration of instruments and vocals. Then ther was Scat, a type of Jazz that was accidentally invented by Louis Armstrong, which consisted of the artist singing “nonsense syllables” to the tune of the current song. Cat was the pinnacle of the jazz improvisation.
The 1920’s were a time of looser morals, new found freedoms, and inequality. Jazz reflected all of these sentiments, giving new ideas about music to many “starving artists”. It inspired many people, and was an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance. It’s lack of inhibitions in regard to the actual sheet music gave it the sentiment of the people rebelling against the law, which was in vogue due to the anti-prohibition and pro-bootlegger views of the general populace. Jazz, instead of following the old “laws” of music, improvised itself into new forms of the same old...