From ArticleWorld

Jazz is considered to be an American musical art form that appeared in New Orleans around 1920. Its roots can be found in Western music and African American culture. Its main characteristics are considered to be syncopation, blue notes, polyrhythm, improvisation, call, response and swing.

New Orleans

Several regional styles played their part in jazz music evolution. The most important one was New Orleans. It is the first to be attributed with the term of jazz (or jass as it was spelled at times). The city and the surrounding area were very popular among people of different nationalities. Time passed since the town was established and ever since the beginning it presented a strong musical heritage, mainly because of the numerous nations that visited it. One man representing such a country was Buddy Bolden. He was the first person in history that took blues elements and transformed them to be played in brass instruments. Although the singer and his band usually played blues they brought in improvisation. It was used to play music fit for the occasion and this was the first step towards jazz music. Artists that followed Bolden were strongly influenced by his new style of improvisation.

National popularity

Colored people, originating from New Orleans started to leave the town. They were educated but because of the Jim Crow laws had to leave. One of them was Bill Johnson. His belief that a local band can have commercial success in the West, led to him going towards that direction. He fought hard and eventually created the Original Creole Orchestra. Promoters started to notice them and after some time one booked the band to play in a nation wide tour on the Pantages Circuit. People found out and, driven by Johnson’s success, started to go North and West from New Orleans. The reason behind it stood in the need of money and the belief that they could win more in locations away from their city. The new style started to become more popular each day and it reached a turning point once with acceptance found in Chicago. Some specialists also believe that this is where the above mentioned term “jass” was first used. The late 1910s saw the creation of the word “jazz” in New York. The reason behind it was that some people took in the habit of scratching the letter “j” from jass. This led to terms like “ass band” to appear. Switching the “s” with a “z” was what happened and led to the term jazz.