The 20th century music world has seen the entry of light and easy listening music with African-American jazz music. Originating in southern USA, jazz music is a combination of African and European music traditions. It puts together the use of blue notes, improvisation, syncopation and swing notes.
Jazz music was first used in reference to music from Chicago early in the 20th century. It has evolved in several other subgenres such as New Orleans Dixieland, big band-style swing, bebop, Afro-Cuban jazz, Brazilian jazz, jazz-rock fusion, and the more recent acid jazz.
The realm of jazz music was and still is predominantly associated with the American black community. These black musicians transitioning from banjos and tambourines learned to play European instruments such as the violin. Black slaves from early America used to sing and play music as a form of spiritual or ritualistic hymns.
After emancipation, employment opportunities for black slaves were very limited as segregation laws were still in force. Most of these black slaves found themselves in the entertainment industry as piano players and instrumentalists. They became low-cost entertainers as minstrels, vaudeville players, piano bar players, and marching band members. Soon, this kind of jazz music called Ragtime Jazz spread from the southern USA to other areas in the western and northern cities in USA.
Ragtime jazz became very popular in the early part of the century. Musician Jelly Roll Morton published the first ever jazz arrangement in print in 1915 with the title Jelly Roll Blues. This printed arrangement brought forth a new breed of musicians playing ragtime. Ragtime music moved on from red-light district bars and vaudeville shows to major concert locations such as the Carnegie Hall.
The first jazz record was recorded in 1913 by Society Orchestra, the first black group to come out with a record. Another group that came up with their very own jazz music recording is the “Original Dixieland Jazz Band”. Other bands followed suit, releasing jazz music recordings starting in 1917. In 1922, the most famous blues singer of the decade, Bessie Smith, also released her first recording. Also in the 1920s, Jelly Roll Morton played with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and made history as the first mixed-race recording collaboration. Big bands like those of Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington and Earl Hines played the more prominent venues and paved the way for the development of big-band-style swing jazz.
Louis Armstrong, a trumpeter, band leader and singer, came to be known as the Ambassador of Jazz, what with his early innovations in jazz music. Swing music is considered to be popular dance music and is played from printed musical arrangements. Then came the bebop which focuses more on small groups and simple arrangements.
Throughout the years jazz music has always been preferred music genre among those who enjoy light and easy listening. There are radio stations that play only jazz music. Jazz music can be heard most everywhere hotel lounges, salons, concert halls, wedding receptions, Jazz music is perhaps also the most unique form of music as there are no two jazz music performances are ever the same.