Jazz Appreciation Month

Reagan Plate

Intro/ Background:

With the beginning of april coming around, we not only celebrate a new month, but we also celebrate National Jazz Month. This month is an annual music festival held every April in the United States as a way to honor jazz as an early art form. Jazz Appreciation Month was created in 2001 by John Edward Hasse and is still celebrated to this day. 


Harlem Renaissance:

Jazz first got its kick start during the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a movement that started after WW1 and was based on literacy, artistic, cultural, and intellectual times. During this time jazz music became popular as many musicians in the African American community influenced its progress. Its effects on the community were large, new cultures were reborn again and increased cultural pride. This eventually allowed the American public to become more involved with other cultures and learn about their community. 


Jazz during the time: 

During the 1920s Jazz music had been rediscovered and increasingly popular. Large cities such as New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Philadelphia took special interest in the new type of music. These cities influenced the movement when African Americas moved to these cities to find better life. In these areas Jazz essentially started a cultural movement that impacted the way people dressed, the language they used, and their attitude towards the community. 


Jazz musicians during the Harlem Renaissance:

An example of a popular and well known Jazz musician during the Harlem Renaissance included Duke Ellington. During his lifetime Ellington composed more than thousands of songs for stages and sound books. Ellington had written his first piece of music when he was 15 and continued to create music for more than half a century. In the 1920s during the Renaissance he performed in nightclubs as the bandleader in a sextet. Ellington would find fellow jazz musicians with unique playing styles and compose songs with them. He went on to record hundreds of songs with this group he created and as a result had his music featured in films and on the radio. Him and his band were also able to tour Europe twice in the 30s. 



Some lyrics from one of his most popular songs “Come Sunday” include “Lord, dear Lord above, God almighty, God of love, Please look down and see my people through. I believe that God put sun and moon up in the sky. I don’t mind the gray skies ’cause they’re just clouds passing by.”