Researchers and historians are still learning about jazz history; there are many and various opinions about what is important in the history of jazz. What follows is an overview of jazz history that provides a foundation for this study. A review of New Orleans' unique history and culture, with its distinctive character rooted in the colonial period, is helpful in understanding the complex circumstances that led to the development of New Orleans jazz. The city was founded in as part of the French Louisiana colony. The Louisiana territories were ceded to Spain in but were returned to France in France almost immediately sold the colony to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. New Orleans differed greatly from the rest of the young United States in its Old World cultural relationships. A more liberal outlook on life prevailed, with an appreciation of good food, wine, music, and dancing. Festivals were frequent, and Governor William Claiborne, the first American-appointed governor of the territory of Louisiana, reportedly commented that New Orleanians were ungovernable because of their preoccupation with dancing.
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There are locals who swear that everything great about American music came from New Orleans. From the start, New Orleans music was about absorbing a world of influences and creating something uniquely funky and tasty out of it. Jazz was largely spawned in the brothels of Storyville, where Jelly Roll Morton and the unrecorded Buddy Bolden casually dispensed genius to the customers.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the music scene. You'll know it when you come across a street performance that rivals any ticketed show you've seen. Or when you find yourself inspired to sway, clap and move like never before. We aren't exaggerating when we say that a wholly original spirit of creativity and musical magic is alive on the streets and in the clubs of New Orleans. You're likely to see locals break into "buck jumpin", a style of dance with bouncy, intricate footwork. It's harder than it looks, but lot's of fun to practice! The Sound: With its jingly piano and springy rhythm, this lively music may evoke mental images of old-time saloons. The Sound: Considered the first form of jazz music, this genre combines ragtime and brass band marches with the free spirited component of improvisation. The Sound: With a basic rhythm and staccato-style notes, this dance music lends itself to waltzes and two-steps and is commonly heard at festivals and dance halls.
Born of both hope and despair, the New Orleans soundtrack is as disparate as the history of its population, fueled by the influx of enslaved Africans to the waves of immigrants from places like Sicily, Ireland, Germany and, in more recent years, Mexico and Central America. New Orleanians care deeply about family, faith, food, traditions, and, perhaps most of all, about making a joyful noise. Here we take our brassy expression of bliss to the streets in celebration of life, death and everything in between. Meeting Planners. Travel Professionals. Press and Media. You've added your first Trip Builder item! Keep track of your trip itinerary here. Sign Up.