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The Jazz came to existance around 1900 in the Southern States of the USA, like Blues and Ragtime. The first centres were New Orleans, Memphis, Kansas City and St. Louis. Its origins lay in the diverse musical traditions of the slaves from Africa and of the white slave owners from Europe. These traditions mixed, producing new styles of music. One of them was Ragtime, which was one of the roots of Jazz. But there are many differences between Ragtime and Jazz, since Ragtime is composed music, whereas in Jazz, more improvisation is used.

The Blues had a strong influence on Jazz as well. Ragtime and Blues had come to existance before Jazz and were and still are present as independent styles. But they had their influence on Jazz, both formally and stylistically. They also provided stylistic devices for improvisation.

From African music as well as from Ragtime, many characteristics were absorbed by Jazz, like the vocal styles, which allowed a lot of freedom for the singer for vocal expression, as well as the improvisational tradition and the call-and-response scheme, which also was used in Blues.

Moreover, Jazz was marked by work songs, cradle songs and later Spirituals. From European music, besides the Ragtime elements, also elements of musical theory, such as the harmonic system which provided a repertoire of chords, were used in Jazz. It can be said, that Jazz emerged from both Ragtime and Blues.

At the end of the 19th century, the different influences merged into a fully displayed Jazz style. After the place of its origin, it was called "New Orleans Jazz".

Some Jazz historians say, that the Jazz was born in New Orleans and matured in Chicago and New York.

At the beginning, Jazz was played in smaller ensembles with horns and rhythm section, but also by solo pianists. These musicians played Ragtime, marches, Blues, hymns and Spirituals as well, for example at parties, parades, weddings, funerals or other events.

Jazz spread by the African American migration from the Southern States of the USA to Chicago and other Northern metropoles of the USA. During that time, Jazz met manifold influences, which resulted in many different stylistic branches. Nowadays, it’s impossible to define Jazz as whole, since it has profoundly changed within the last 100 years, and meanwhile the influences are extremely diverse.

Already in New Orleans, Jazz was also played by white musicians. Their music was called "Dixieland Jazz".

The Jazz came to the public’s view by a recording, made in 1917 by the white "Original Dixieland Jazz Band", the first jazz recording. Until then, most Americans hadn’t heard Jazz, although it had been played since years.

With this first recording, Jazz turned into the most popular music in America, actually dominating the music market. After the first recording, many more followed, mostly recorded in Chicago, not in New Orleans.

In the 1920s, a new style emerged: "Chicago Jazz". In this style, the saxophone had its first important role. Until then, the saxophone had mainly been a military instrument. It was invented by Adolphe Sax around 1840.

When Louis Armstrong moved to New York City in 1924 for two years, to play with Fletcher Henderson’s band, Jazz changed forever. In New York, Armstrong opened the way for Swing. In 1926, he also introduced scat-singing in the recording of the song "Heebie Jeebies".

The Swing had its breakthrough in the 1930s. When the radio came to the U. S., also Swing could be heard in American living rooms. The bands, in which white musicians played, made this music acceptable. Black bands became popular, too, but not to the same extent as the white bands. Many dance styles developped simultaneously, like Jitterbug or Lindy Hop. In the 1930s, after the end of the Great Depression, a never seen before juvenile culture flourished, and the fast Swing with its dances became immensely popular.

In the decades following World War II, the modern styles of jazz were developped, such as Bebop, Cool Jazz and Free Jazz, from which countless variations emerged worldwide. But swinging music is still popular as before, as is proven by artists like Roger Cicero or Stefan Gwildis.