A Week of African American Music History, JAZZ Explodes!

Posted on February 10, 2021

by Kim P

Each week, the Black History Committee will offer books, music, and online media information that gives an outline to the roots of American music. African and African American music come from the same sources, the continent of Africa. The diaspora of African culture brought the richness of vocal harmonies, drum beats and string instruments that melded into vast, creative, and innovative ways to sing, dance, and communicate their spirits.

Week 2 – Jazz Explodes!

As the new style of singing called Barbershop Quartet swells across the nation, innovative and creative ways to stylize the blues and gospel play heavily throughout the South. Quickly, the brass band sounds of New Orleans catch fire and spread wild, across the globe! These titles take you there.

Cover of People Get Ready! : A New History of Black Gospel Music

People Get Ready! : A New History of Black Gospel Music

“Heavenly harmony” is the label this style of music developed at the turn of the 20th century. James Weldon Johnson believed that the barbershop quartet began from the barbers in black neighborhoods. During this time, the black barber was a prominent profession as it was the only alternative to working in the fields. These singers used four-part harmonies and the style was a cappella which means without instrument accompaniment.

Cover of In Search of Buddy Bolden, First Man of Jazz

In Search of Buddy Bolden, First Man of Jazz

All that Jazz! Learn about Buddy Bolden and the roots of jazz music. Just after the turn of the century, New Orleanians could often hear Bolden’s powerful horn from the city’s parks and through dance hall windows. Despite his lack of formal training, his unique style―both musical and personal―made him the first “king” of New Orleans jazz and the inspiration for such later jazz greats as King Oliver, Kid Ory, and Louis Armstrong.

Cover of The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s

The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s

Jazz explodes worldwide and helps to develop a new lifestyle the accentuates music, fashion, and culture. The roaring ‘20’s were wild, and the sound of New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, and New York was the craze in America! Using jazz as a metaphor, the author explores the taste and style of 1920s America, showcasing developments in art, architecture, design, and technology, and discusses the emerging market for Art Deco luxury goods.

Cover of Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism

Louis Armstrong: Master of Modernism

I don’t know much about playing a trumpet, but Louis Armstrong brought something to the sound that earthlings had never experienced before. He opened a portal to the way that we hear brass improvisation. Add that to “scat,” a vocal jazz improvisation, and it became an irresistible combination.

Cover of Jazz A-B-Z

Jazz A-B-Z

Wynton Marsalis is the gatekeeper of all things jazz, especially when it comes to the trumpet. This book of poetry is beautiful and packed with details on his faves and of course, world renown jazz greats, from Count Basie to Louis Armstrong.

Cover of I Remember: Eighty Years of Black Entertainment, Big Bands, and the Blues: An Autobiography

I Remember: Eighty Years of Black Entertainment, Big Bands, and the Blues: An Autobiography

This is a wonderful retrospective of life steeped in jazz. I Remember is a first-hand account of the world of Black American music told by a man who has been part of that world for eighty years. Clyde E. B. Bernhardt worked with several bands, including King Oliver, Marion Hard, Cecil Scott, the Bascomb Brothers, and Joe Garland. He started his own band, the Blue Blazers, in 1946 and formed the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band in 1972.

Cover of Sugar Hill: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood

Sugar Hill: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood

The cover of this book is stunning with the stylish bronze beauty in her cloche. This is an easy picture book for all ages of kids to introduce them to jazz history and the Harlem Renaissance. Inside, readers will also find upbeat, rhyming text.

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