Jazz began as a 'coming together' of different musical styles and cultures

One of the earliest musical styles that contributed to the development of Jazz. was Ragtime which was popular  around the 1890s and the turn of the century.

It was a blend of European classical styles and African American Harmony and Rhythm, incorporated into cakewalks (dances) and music. Ragtime made use of syncopation, with a strict on-the-beat rhythm in the left hand and syncopated melody lines in the right hand.

Around the end of World War 1 musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton and Louise Armstrong moved north and became household names.

During the Depression (in the 1930s) radio was one of the main forms of entertainment and they played lots of recordings by big bands.

Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller ran two famous bands and gained acceptance with the white community as well as the black community.

In Harlem nightclubs musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie would run late night jam sessions, often going on to 4 in the morning.They developed a style called bebop.

This a jazz style with fast tempo and complex harmonies, requiring great technical expertise.

In 1947 Charlie Parker formed a band including a young Miles Davis on trumpet.

Miles Davis left the band in 1948 to form his own band. He got fed up with bebop and constantly changing chords that improvised solos were based on.  So he began composing Music with fewer chords.  This meant the soloist could develop their melody before the chord changed.

Davis’ solos changed the way jazz was played.  He used tuneful melodies when he improvised – so you could sing along.  He often played in the lower register too.  Although he was capable of technically demanding music, he preferred a simple approach.

Here is a PREZI presentation about Miles Davis and the development of Jazz

Miles Davis PREZI