Roy Eldridge

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The Blues and Ragtime

The blues originated from the work songs, spirituals and chants of blacks in the South. Ragtime is descended from the European style classical, including syncopated bouncy rhythms.

Listen to: W.C. Handy, Ma Rainy, Muddy Waters, Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton

Early Jazz and Jazz

We’ll go with the accepted godfather of improvisation, Louis Armstrong, who mixed the sounds of Europe, Africa, Blues, and Ragtime, to create Jazz as we know it today. Armstrong brilliantly improvised and created new melodies over the chords and famous tunes of that time.

Listen to: Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Fats Waller, Kid Ory

Gypsy Jazz

As American jazz spread globally in the 30’s and 40’s, Europeans were creating their own version. The godfather of this movement was a gypsy named Django Reinhardt, who mixed American jazz with gypsy manouche music. More on this below.

Listen to: Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappeli, Birelli Lagrene

African and European music collides in New Orleans around the 1900’s. Jazz was born of a hurricane of influences: West African rhythm’s and melodies, classical European melodies, and American ingenuity.