Term Paper: Avant-Garde Jazz Music

Pages: 3 (1075 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Music  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Leroi Jones also notes that the individuality expressed during this jazz era is important to the movement because of the unusual harmonies that resulted. Wayne Shorter and Earl Griffith provide examples of this type of diversity. He also asserts that while blues was the original African-American music, bebop re-emphasized a non-Western movement in jazz.

Max Roach offers interesting insight into the definition of jazz and the impact that this music has had on African-Americans. He traces the etymology of the word, which was a word created by white people to describe African-American music, linking it with "free-swinging bawdy-house connotations" (Roach 306). In his mind, the word jazz conjured up images of "dingy places, the worst salaries and conditions that one can imagine" (307). He asserts that the word jazz has "come to mean the abuse and exploitation of black musicians; it has come to mean cultural prejudice and condescension" (307). In his opinion, African-Americans should redefine themselves and their culture and find a new respect for all forms of jazz.

In "America's Classical Music," Billy Taylor notes that jazz has served as a model for all kinds of music, noting that its "influence is international in its scope" (Taylor America's Classical Music 328). Taylor claims that jazz is a distinctively African-American form of classical music that reached across ethnic boundaries. He aptly describes it is a musical mirror that reminds us of the musicians from the past. Jazz is a distinctly African-American form of music and it is certainly America's classical music, despite the fact that many wish to ignore this fact. In his essay, "Negroes Don't Know Anything About Jazz," he also observes that while African-Americans might have been the ones who created jazz music, they know very little about it today. While jazz has its roots firmly planted in the historical slave culture, Taylor claims that jazz is "no longer the exclusive medium of expression of the Negro" ("Negroes Don't Know Anything About Jazz 203). Popular jazzmen of today like Dave Brubeck and Quincy Jones should be listened to and recognized for their achievements. These men "should be accorded the dignity their stature called for" (203). Instead, he notes that there are very few African-Americans interested enough in jazz to even write about it. He believes that African-Americans should somehow be made aware of their musical heritage. A sense of pride in African-American music should be established. He claims that jazz "has done more to break down the color line between the white and colored races, I would say, than religion" (205). He also desires to see a renewed interest in jazz and its influence.

In conclusion, the avant-garde movement in jazz is important because it represents the departure from traditional forms of jazz into a more free-flowing form that allowed musicians to express themselves in a way that they had not done before. Many jazz greats have contributed to this movement and many critics feel that it is a shame to ignore the significance of the jazz avant-garde movement.

Works Cited

Evans, Bill. "The Jazz Cadence of American Culture. "

Gottlieb, Bill. "The Anatomy of Bop."

Jones, Leroi. "The Jazz Avant-Garde."

Lewis Porter. "Reaction to Bebop."

Roach, Max. "Beyond… [END OF PREVIEW]

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