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A focus on the 1920 Jazz Music

Updated on June 25, 2017

1920s Jazz

The period of 1920s marked a significant development not only in jazz music, but also in the entire music fraternity. The technocrats in the industry discovered novel ways of generating revenue by combining piano role sales and sheet music. This made it easier for jazz tunes and other music genre to be performed on records or live by singers and bands. Furthermore, there was development and increase of record companies, identified as Indies, creating recording opportunities for many artists. Before this development, the existing record companies had a tendency of choosing the type of music they could record and also tailor an artist’s lyrics to suit their interests. However, many of the smaller recording firms could take a chance on artists and music that had been ignored by bigger organizations. This gave artists an opportunity to record their music as they wished. Some of the great jazz performers in the early 1920s could be seen on indie labels including Okeh, Paramount and Gennett (Mario).

It is during the decade of 1920s when the radio moved from being an expensive utility to a less expensive entertainment platform. This implied that many people could now afford this gadget, thus facilitating the sale of sheet and phonograph music. Consequently, jazz music could get more exposure and sales and hence, more popularity. This popularity was further heighted by the development of the motion picture industry which was being transformed from silent to sound. The development also acted as a medium to sell phonograph and sheet music, hence becoming possible for jazz artists to tailor their songs for films. This also positively fuelled the popularity of jazz music.

Social factors also influenced the development jazz to a large extent during the 1920s. McCANN explains that the jazz genre developed in 1920s when some people wanted to promote the ideals represented by the middle class of the white population, and African-American traditions, which deviated from the mainstream society. This explains why cities such as Chicago and New York became quite popular with jazz. The genre was employed as a way of rebellion against the traditional culture, which appeared to oppress some minorities in the country (p3). This also explains why jazz became more rampart among Black-Americans, the poor whites and the youth.


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