When we think about jazz, we usually think about the great names like Aretha Franklin or Louis Armstrong who were among the pioneers of this genre, although the whole story of jazz doesn’t stop in the 40s or 50s. It is one of the most complex music genres and even though we may associate it with some specific rhythms and sounds, it is also one of the most versatile ones. While we may still think of the late greats there are new jazz musicians on the rise that are worth listening too as well.
How It Started
During the beginning of the 20th century, jazz developed from the soul music that was usually sung in the African American communities of the US. Later, it adopted elements like the trumpet and other instruments that managed to contribute to its distinctive sound. Typically, every place had a different jazz style and soon this amazing music permeated the whole United States. The peak of jazz was in the 40s during the Golden Years when every big city was home to jazz concerts and clubs where people enthusiastically embraced the sound.
Sadly, the big decline came when other music genres started to dominate the music scene, but it managed to remain well loved by loyal fans. In the 60s and 70s there was a shift in the rhythm and theme of jazz with such things as bebop and “hard jazz”, so called because it took elements and instruments from rock&roll. One of the singers that embraced this was David Bowie and other artists could be heard mixing these elements from the jazz realm in their more modern styles.
However, in the 80s and 90s, although jazz remained popular with the core base of fans, it struggled to find favor with the younger generation who were more interested in the newer styles emerging and these new music genres were certainly loved more than jazz by the young generation at that time.
The 2000s came with a new music revolution. Hip Hop arrived and with it, jazz was taking the stage once again. Many people actually believe that a new Golden Age of jazz is just around the corner, as a result of seeing a greater number of indie artists reviving some of the old sounds with a modern twist. The instruments stay the same but the themes, the lyrics and the vibe itself are very different. Jazz is more accessible and now played by all kinds of people around the world, no matter the country, and this is adding to its diversity allowing personal touches to be a part of every song.
The recent years brought some fresh talent to the jazz arena and it is likely we will definitely hear more of this diversity in the years to come. Over the years the artists have emerged from crowded underground clubs to big stages and iconic festivals, keeping the music very much alive.