New Orleans Jazz

New Orleans JazzNew Orleans is known as the birthplace of jazz. New Orleans was a virtual melting pot of various ethnic groups and cultures who all lived and interacted side by side, including French and other European groups, Africans, Native American Indians, and “Creoles” (mixed French and African blood). African-Americans would frequently have public, interactive and dancing gatherings, most famously in New Orlean’s “Congo Square”, a tradition which many researchers believe was the catalyst fusing the diverse musical traditions of the area into what we now call jazz, an interactive and dynamic form of music. Jazz became an important part of community life in the New Orleans, and such famous jazz artists as Lois Armstrong, Sydney Bechet, Buddy Bolden, and “Papa Jack” Laine grew up around the music. Today, because of the spread and growth of jazz, “New Orleans jazz” has become a style of jazz, following a faster beat then other forms of jazz. New Orleans jazz is designed for dancing and moving, and is made for collective performances rather than the solo perfomances of jazz that became popular later on, which echoes the public, community gatherings that initially lead to the fusion of music that became jazz.

Consequently, although jazz crosses racial and cultural borders, because jazz began in the black communities of New Orleans, historically jazz has been a significant part of black history in the US and African-American culture. Quickly enough however, white musicians soon took up playing jazz, many of whom moved their jazz to Chicago, introducing the music to a new geographical area.

New Orleans remains a city very much centered around jazz, and lovers of jazz can not only visit historical jazz site in New Orleans like Canal Street, Decatur Street, and the Lafayette square District, but may attend a number of truly wonderful jazz clubs and festivals, like Prestige Hall or the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.