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History of Jazz Music in New York City: What Do You Know?
by Zoe Samuel
pixabay

Jazz music has roots in the music of black slaves in the American South. By the late 1800s, these musical traditions had coalesced into a style of African American music that was becoming what we would recognize today as jazz. Still, black musicians could not yet play for white audiences without consequences, and "black" jazz and "white" jazz would develop in parallel tracks for decades, often with white artists stealing material from black artists without giving them credit.

By the time jazz reached New York City, things were beginning to change. There was segregation, and integrated bands had to be careful about how they billed themselves, but black jazz bands were playing huge venues in the heart of Manhattan's theater district where white audiences could and did shell out top dollar to see them, and that was progress.

The jazz legends who came out of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s and 1950s not only changed music and laid the foundations of rock and roll, but they changed the culture, bringing the music of stolen African slaves into the international mainstream, and even featuring it in major Hollywood films.

Few of these artists were from New York, but New York drew the best the country had to offer. From Chicago, to New Orleans, to Washington D.C., anyone who would be anyone would find their way to New York, where they'd either get a bite of The Big Apple, or get chewed up and spit out. How well do you know the jazz age of Gotham? Take this quiz and find out.

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