Jazz music exploded as popular entertainment in the 1920s and
brought African-American culture to the white middle class.
Analyze the development of jazz during the 1920s
Jazz Age was a post-World War I movement in the 1920s from
which jazz music and dance emerged. Although the era ended with the outset of the Great
1929, jazz has lived on in American popular culture.
The birth of jazz music is credited
to African Americans, but both black and white Americans alike are responsible
for its immense rise in popularity.
The rise of jazz coincided with
the rise of radio broadcast and recording technology, which spawned the popular
"potter palm" shows that included big-band jazz performances.
Female singers such as Bessie
Smith emerged during this period of postwar equality and open sexuality, paving
the way for future female artists.
A young woman whose
unconventional clothing and progressive attitude personified the free spirit of
the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age.
freedom was the mindset of the Roaring Twenties, then jazz was the soundtrack. The
Jazz Age was a cultural period and movement that took place in America during the
1920s from which both new styles of music and dance emerged. Largely credited
to African Americans employing new musical techniques along with traditional African
traditions, jazz soon expanded to America's white middle class.
World War I, large numbers of jazz musicians migrated from New
Orleans to major northern cities such as Chicago and New York, leading to a wider dispersal of jazz as different styles developed in different cities. As the 1920s progressed, jazz rose in popularity and helped to generate a cultural shift. Because of its
popularity in speakeasies, illegal nightclubs where alcohol was sold during
Prohibition, and its proliferation due to the emergence of more advanced
recording devices, jazz became very popular in a short amount of time, with
stars including Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Chick Webb. Several famous entertainment
venues such as the Apollo Theater and the Cotton Club came to epitomize the
African-American jazz was played more frequently on urban radio stations than on their suburban
counterparts. Young people of the 1920s were influenced by jazz to rebel
against the traditional culture of previous generations, a rebellion that went
hand-in-hand with fads such as the bold fashion statements of the flappers and new radio concerts.
such as the Charleston, developed by African Americans,
instantly became popular among different demographics, including among young white
people. With the introduction of large-scale radio broadcasts in 1922,
Americans were able to experience different styles of music without physically
visiting a jazz club. Through its broadcasts and concerts, the radio provided
Americans with a trendy new avenue for exploring unfamiliar cultural
experiences from the comfort of their living rooms. The most popular type of
radio show was a "potter palm," an amateur concert and big-band jazz
performance broadcast from New York and Chicago.
Due to the racial prejudice prevalent at most radio
stations, white American jazz artists received much more air time than black jazz
artists such as Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Joe "King"
Oliver. Big-band jazz, like that of James Reese in Europe and Fletcher
Henderson in New York, was also popular on the radio and brought an African-American
style and influence to a predominantly white cultural scene.
surfacing of flappers—women noted for their flamboyant style of dress, progressive attitudes, and modernized morals—began to captivate society during
the Jazz Age. This coincided with a period in American society during which many
more opportunities became available for women, in their social lives and
especially in the entertainment industry.
Several famous female musicians
emerged during the 1920s, including Bessie Smith, who garnered attention not
only because she was a great singer, but also because she was a black woman. It
was not until the 1930s and 1940s, however, that female jazz and blues singers
such as Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday were truly recognized and
respected as successful artists throughout the music industry. Their
persistence paved the way for many more female artists who came afterward.