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Christopher Small

Origins of Jazz (Louis Armstrong) URL: http://www.march.es/conferencias/anteriores/voz.aspx?p1=2718&l=2

We will analyze a new way of making music that appeared in the slavery period in America maintaining the influence of its two sources: African music and European music that combined admirably to produce Jazz. We will appeal to the concept of "musicking", doing music, in reference to all kinds of active participation in a in a musical performance. In my opinion, this new way of making music -"musicking"- with roots going back o the beginning of the 17th century in the first days of slavery, allowed both blacks and poor whites, to have a new model similar to a community, that represented for them an affirmation of dignity that provided them with a reason to survive, and that ultimately gave origin to this new way of making music called jazz.

The vitality of jazz, thus, comes in a great extent from its social origins; it is the reflection of the society from where it comes, from the tensions between the ideal of European communities and the Americans of African origin. The vitality of jazz is the legacy of countless musicians whose names in most cases have been forgotten by history, and although probably being illiterate, they were great connoisseurs of European and African musical styles, and the people responsible for equally establishing both styles of music at the origin of jazz.

The first great figure making a name of his own in jazz, was without doubt Louis Armstrong, who nevertheless, shares this merit with the work of those first musicians previously mentioned, who are also the protagonists of the origin of jazz.

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