Jazz: Born in the U.S.A

Jazz is neither African nor European; it is American. The contribution of American political concepts and culture were vital to the birth and development of what would eventually become a widely respected and enjoyed international art form. Being “born in the U.S.A.” was necessary for the evolution and development of jazz.
All That Jazz p. 53 by Jack Wheaton

1. Explain the contributions Africa made to Jazz. (All That Jazz chapter 2).
2. Explain the contributions Europe made to Jazz. (All That Jazz chapter 3).

* You are welcome to use other sources if the book is not available.

Contributions From Africa

With two thousand tribal groups and rich natural resources, Africa is both home to a diverse ecological and cultural mix, as well as a battleground for political and social movements, not the least of which is the conflict between old traditions and modern society.

High-life, a musical style popular in Africa today, combines American rock and blues influences with traditional African rhythms. Music in Africa has traditionally been a communal activity with a dominant role in important social events such as marriages, births, deaths, religious festivals, crop harvests, and military victories. All elements of a tribal musical performance are equally important and inseparable.

Many traditions of Africa tribal music are essential characteristics of modern popular American music. African techniques that influenced the development of Afro-American music include poly-rhythms, cross-rhythms, and syncopation. Blue notes, lowered notes that don’t fit into the European scales, were another important contribution, as were buzz tones- deliberately distorted and raspy vocal or instrumental tones. In addition, many popular dance forms, such as The charleston and jitterbug, are derived from African dances. These and other contributions from African musical tradition played a crucial role in shaping popular music as it developed in the United States.

Contributions From Western Europe

An emphasis on logical, linear, and sequential thinking developed in Europe in response to a seasonal climate that required advance planning. European art and music, consequently, stress structure and forethought, in contrast to the African emphasis on spontaneity and flexibility.

Despite a de-emphasis on rhythm and a religious distrust of syncopation, which was to closely tied to the body’s

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