When it comes to studying the history of jazz, we’re mostly exposed to the history of America and how jazz rose from the precincts in New Orleans and spread across the country.
However, if we are to truly learn about the impact that jazz has had on the music world, we must break through those boundaries and find out how jazz became a fundamental genre in the international music industry, especially during a time when the world was far less diverse than it is today!
A Short Journey through Time
Close to Home
During the early 1900s, New Orleans—where jazz originated—was actually the North-most Port of Havana. This brought in a lot of new people to the community, and with them, new styles of music. So even if you listen to this style of jazz music, you could often feel the rhythm closet relate to that of Cuban-style music.
As this genre grew, we began to see so many new artists come forward from surrounding communities who added characteristics from their own music to jazz. Of course, with jazz being so improvisation-friendly, it just gave us more good tunes.
Jazz in Asia
Of all Asian countries, China was the first to embrace the genre. Especially thanks to musicians like Buck Clayton, his band was able to introduce jazz to the progressive culture of Shanghai. With its influence on the music scene, we were able to see some very popular composers including Li Jinhui in 1935 that put together an all-Chinese jazz band, known as The Clear Wind Dance Band.
During this time, jazz thrived in the mid-east region as well, where thanks to legends such as Pianist Teddy Weatherford and other African American musicians, we saw the jazz scene flourishing.
However, beside all these, it’s perhaps Japan that we have to credit with having a strong love for jazz. While during the 1930s, there were many jazz bands in Tokyo and Osaka that played American swing and other styles, it was until Toshiko Akiyoshi came onto the scene that we truly saw jazz take its place as one of the most favorite styles of music. Combining jazz and Japanese music, Toshiko Akiyoshi was able to give us a unique melody that became a classic.
But that’s not all. Stepping away from the Indian Subcontinent, the East and South-East Asian countries, we also saw many Middle Eastern countries such as Turkey and many in the Persian Gulf adapt jazz in their music culture. Turkey gave us Okay Tamiz who combined local folk music and jazz, which came to be known as Anatolian Jazz. We also saw works from South African musicians such as bassist Johnny Dani and trumpeter Mongezi Fez.
As for musicians from the Levantine region (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel and Jordan), we had the Oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil who combined folk styles and jazz, producing sublime, intimate music.
And this is just a simplification of the genre. Jazz has influenced countless talented musicians and as time goes on, we shall continuing seeing even more jazz lovers—like us—come out with their own signature interpretation of jazz.
However, in the meantime, if you just want to listen to jazz, why not hire us?
Razzmajazz is available for all celebrations in Dallas, Fort Worth and other areas of Texas. So hire us today. Listen to the wonderful tunes of traditional, Dixieland, ragtime as well as swing jazz and let the music take you on a journey!