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Jazz as means of political expression

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It is worth noting that jazz music emerged in the particular context of the exploitation of black slaves who had arrived in the New World, and that it has not developed in the same manner in other places of slavery or even with the advent of European colonization in Africa. Jazz was originally the product of particular historical circumstances. Its shape evolved subsequently, when jazz migrated from the southern United States to the north, where conditions for blacks were not improving, despite the absence of racial laws. The evolution of jazz traces the mindset of musicians who were affected by the rejection and discrimination meted out to them by society, with the claim of pride in their identity, and finally with the radicalization of their struggle and political commitment. From swing music, which was locked in a specific style, to free jazz, which openly claim the rights of African Americans and was free of any constraint, to many other forms like be-bop or the cool jazz, this music seems to have been produced by American history and has evolved with it.

Jazz appears progressively as the political voice of black Americans, who, deprived of any form of expression, use their music, which became a symbol of their identity. More than music, jazz is therefore akin to a cultural phenomenon, with far-reaching effects even today. The vast domain covered by the term jazz obliges us to set boundaries for our temporal analysis, which is particularly interested in jazz as a means of political expression of African-Americans and as a true product of their history. It is therefore essential to trace the origins, to trace the peak of its use as a means of expression and advocacy in the years 1950-1960, to show the true relationship between jazz and its socio-political environment. Finally, we will undertake an analysis of jazz in the U.S. because we want to demonstrate that it is the product of American history, and its distribution in Europe could not enlighten us on the link between history and jazz and between socio-politics and music.

Jazz is more than one hundred years old and seems to be doing well. A lot of musicians are concerned with this movement, and every country, from Iceland to Japan, vibrates original music from the jazz that was born among African-Americans in the southern United States.
It is possible to divide the history of jazz in three stages: origins of mestizo jazz in New Orleans and its gradual evolution, through the middle jazz, swing and other forms, and finally the radicalization of jazz as a truly political instrument: the be-bop and free jazz in particular.

The arrival of slaves in the seventeenth century was the starting point for the origins of jazz; Black Americans suffered discrimination, violence and many privations. And music, that they were still allowed to sing or play, soon became the preferred means of expressing their pain and dreams. Jazz was not then the weapon of a struggle, it was a kind of refuge. First sung by street bands, it is partly in the red light districts of New Orleans that the real jazz was born. The years 1920-1930 made this a popular music form. Despite segregation, the jazz of New Orleans is the first black music to be internationally known. But now, thanks to the racial laws, the white jazzmen have established themselves in New Orleans.

Tags: jazz music, voice of black Americans, be-bop or the cool jazz

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