Jazz music is characterized by improvisation, as well as syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre.
New Orleans is considered the birth place of jazz music, originating in African-American communities. The roots of early jazz music go all the way back to the late 1800s, and have continued to evolve today. It is now played and listened to around the world.
In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, explore these fun facts and ways to enjoy the music year- round.
Fun Jazz Facts
- The drum set was invented by jazz musicians. (Scholastic)
- The words “cool” and “hip” both originated as jazz terms.
- From 1915 to about 1955, jazz was the main form of popular music in the United States. (National Humanities Center – NHC)
- Jazz started out with five to seven player bands but grew commercially to larger 12–15 player big bands that became known as swing music in the 1930s.
- Dissatisfied with the commercially popular swing, some musicians went more in an experimental direction, which led to the creation of Bebop, cool jazz, progressive jazz and the avant-garde, free jazz.
Like all music, jazz can help reduce stress and can stimulate the brain.
Here are a number of ways you can enjoy jazz year-round:
- Seek out live jazz performances in your community.
- Purchase your favorite jazz albums on vinyl, CD or via online download.
- Listen to jazz stations for free via the Internet from providers such as Pandora and Spotify.
- Learn to play jazz.
- Attend a jazz festival. There are large jazz festivals held annually throughout the United States. There are also smaller jazz festivals held in communities and at local colleges. Festivals are a great way to hear a variety of talented musicians in one location and to meet fellow jazz enthusiasts.
Whether you’re already a jazz fan or are ready to experience something new, Jazz Appreciation Month is a great time to explore this American original.