Throughout history, music has evolved to witness the coming and going of many genres, some becoming popular but then hitting the bottom, thus we are not surprised by anything in the music industry anymore. Jazz is a sound that started more than 70 years ago during the so-called Golden Years. This period saw growth for many artists and the music managed to touch the hearts of generations. Initially it started as a music genre of the African American community, incorporating elements from traditional African songs that were mixed with joyful or slow paces and improvisational moments.
The originality of this sound is one of the elements that made it so popular at that time, but the question is – is jazz still a popular and relevant music genre today?
Decline in Popularity
Jazz lost part of its popularity during the 60’s and 70’s when the music scene was dominated by the new rock era. Whilst it was still popular in many areas and major artists were still finding success touring the world, over time, with the evolution of music and the appearance of the new music genres from the 80’s and 90’s, things took a different direction. One of the main reasons for this was the change in generations. The jazz generation was used to dancing in dance halls and talking about innocence and love and suffering. The newer music styles tried to reach out to as many people as possible and a switch in the style of lyrics emerged. Often the jazz lyrics were joyful or approached love and suffering in a different, easier to relate to way that might be considered more personal.
Whilst jazz might be considered a relatively popular music genre it would be fair to say that you probably need to have a certain level of musical taste to really appreciate it and it is not typically listened to with headphones while at the gym or on the bus! Generally, it is a much more intimate music genre that is more suitable for smaller groups. There are still major jazz festivals all over the world that feature the young jazz generation and the participants are very mixed which can only be a good thing for the future of this music genre, which will not by any means accept being relegated to an older by gone generation. You need a certain maturity to understand all the songs and appreciate the musicality, perhaps one of the main reasons why jazz is not listened to by the masses and does not usually feature on the top 100 Billboard list.
But jazz continues to be a very loved music genre and if a new generation seems to enjoy it as much as the original one then without doubt it will be a style of music that will endure. The re-discovery through live performance, theater and film scores will encourage more artists to enter this arena and then music events are likely to see greater exposure and popularity. We will definitely hear a lot more from jazz in the years to come