Jazz: An Expression of Mixed Cultures
Updated: Sep 20, 2019
Jazz is a symbol of pleasant experiences; that is why some hotels and restaurants play it for delighting their customers. However, it is more than background music. It encompasses history and culture, it is pure art and soul. It has the power to talk to the spirit of its audience and awake the most sensitive and human parts of our beings.
Back in the 1920s, jazz broke the barriers that limited African Americans from being recognized as artist exponents. It became a famous genre in the nation that continued evolving over the years and served as a reference for new music styles. The music journalist Joachim-Ernst Berendt, once stated that Jazz is a "form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of the Negro with European music". Berendt came out with this conclusion after learning that jazz was born from the integration of African slaves’ folk songs with Caribbean rhythms and European musical instruments. Black musicians learned to play those western instruments to parody European dance music, while they received the influence of music from Cuba and other islands of the region.
As an Afro-Latina, I am intrigued about this improvisational, yet complex art. For me, it represents the richness of diverse cultures expressed into harmony and genuineness.