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Blues is a popular music genre and distinctive musical form that were born in the Deep South of America from humble roots in pre-civilized black work songs, spirituals, field hollers, cheers, chants, and rhymes. The earliest forms of blues were probably related to folk music of southern plantation workers, although gospel and blues eventually reached the white middle class. But the blues had achieved worldwide recognition by the middle of the twentieth century. It was brought about by changes in popular music styles and by changes in the way people listened to and played the music.
The major breakthrough of the blues' growth came with the jazz music movement in the late 19th century. Jazz music, which also had African American components, reached the peak of popularity during the early days of the twentieth century. It combined ragtime and European music, popular white music styles with African rhythmic beats, and an expansive vocabulary of rhythm and melody structures. Most jazz musicians were either European immigrants or former slaves who became free or emigrated to America. Some notable musicians who were influenced by jazz are Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Queen, and many more.
There is no denying the impact that the blues had on American popular music, specifically white musicians. As a result, many white Americans began to view blues as a significant and superior form of music. But the impact that it had on blues enthusiasts as well as on white American society cannot be overlooked. Blues music bridged the gap between the aspirations and realities of the African American and the more materialistic fantasies of white American society. In this way, blues music helped shape the values and beliefs of a wider audience than most artists would ever have had.
Jazz is an extremely popular music genre that originated in the black communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, during the late 19th century, with origins in ragtime and blues. The music was very popular with plantation workers on vacations and while working long hours in the cotton fields. Jazz music evolved into a highly choreographed dance form that showcased intricate footwork, call-and-response routines, and off-beat rhythms and notes. Jazz is now considered one of the most fashionable genres of music of all time.
Many jazz musicians from before have gone on to fame and fortune, like Paul McCartney and Roy Clark. But what separates new jazz from traditional jazz? To answer this question, we need to look beyond the standard definitions of Jazz and recognize the unique features that differentiate it from other forms of popular music.
First and foremost, jazz is a distinctly musical style of music, which is distinctively different than popular music. While popular music is typically centered on melody and rhythm, jazz tends to be more instrumental. Most notable examples of this are phrases such as "I've got a golden key" (The Who), "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" (Pink Floyd), "No I'm Not Going Down There" (Nirvana), "I Just Called Your Number" (Led Zeppelin), and "You Will Never Walk Alone" (Abbey Road). Although the above examples do not specifically depict or identify each individual characteristic of jazz, they do provide for a good starting point for exploring the many ways jazz differs from other forms of popular music. In essence, jazz is a uniquely musical style of music that showcases a unique amalgamation of elements of rhythm, melody, vocals, and instrumentals.
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