May 28th is International Jazz Day. This uniquely American musical form was born in New Orleans, but thrives all over the world. From the beginning of the 20th century, African American communities in the Southern United States merged a variety of West African and European musical traditions. A pop cultural form, it set itself apart with its use of syncopation, improvisation, and polyrhythms as well as “blue notes,” pitches sung slightly flat for effect, and “swung notes,” notes played with unequal rhythm.
Jazz has evolved over the years and spun off a number of popular varieties including, ragtime, big band, swing, dixieland, bebob, fusion, latin, funk, and hip-hop.
This summer, celebrate Americana at its best with a live Jazz performance. For a listing of New England Jazz venues and performances, check out New England Traditional Jazz Plus.