The Jazz story, in general, is loaded with war, oppression, redemption, evolution, and love affairs. Jazz emerged due to oppressed people’s controversial existence that was fed by the need for freedom. It arose because of the power of expression and was able to unite individuals from all colors, races, and creeds under one umbrella, the thirst for music and freedom.
Birth of Jazz
The birth of Jazz was in 1901 in the swampy city of New Orleans. The Civil War caused the social and economic effects, and also the segregation of the southern states of America. In fact, everywhere there was racism, and life was disgraceful for African Americans. In this impoverished situation, Jazz emerged. Jazz reflects the combination of many cultures and influences. The African American music gained prominence; the parents of authentic jazz were the Blues and ragtime.
New Orleans was deeply influenced by the brass marching bands of Europe, especially, the beguine and the French quadrilles. This was a music type heard during funerals or festivals. In the 1920s, two things were apparent: the popularity in Jazz was rising, and alcohol was prohibited. The American jazz musicians got employed as rhythm drivers in underground or illegal bars.
The Thriving of Jazz in France
The Jazz culture in France started flourishing, and Paris was the most preferred destination for the black musicians from America looking for oppressive trials and segregation from their life in America. These artists found their hearts in the clubs of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and they became well-known for the Jazz genre. The night clubs such as Le Tabou and Saint-Germain conducted music sessions, and the music would resonate through the Paris streets. These clubs were frequented by writers, musicians, and burdened protestors that it became spaces of sanctuary. The activists came together in these dens featuring rhythm and whisky to discuss the segregation, while the Jazz protestors stood united.
Today’s Jazz Scene in Paris
With the progress of time, Jazz in France evolved the similar way as American Jazz. The music of the two countries was intertwined, and they exchanged talent and nuances. Nevertheless, Paris was the most preferred destination that even many big American names came to Paris to experiment with their innovative work. There are several jazz clubs scattered around Paris amongst the popular ones that everyone knows. However, some clubs are lesser known but specialize in contemporary styles of jazz.
In 2019, the French Jazz culture is still found to be swinging strong; the younger generation has good knowledge of Jazz music. The changes now in most clubs are that they are free from smoke in their dens featuring rhythm and whisky. The Jazz scene is now transformed from the original style of rebellion that it started with. Though a few hidden spots in the music scene are yet to be discovered, there is always something new and exciting coming from the style. While the genre matures and thrives, the City of Lights and Love comes to life every night with the beats of Jazz.