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Jazz in New York City – NYC Jazz History and Jazz Clubs in New York

Jazz in New York City – NYC Jazz History and Jazz Clubs in New York

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New York City has long been deemed as the Jazz Capital of the world. Music enthusiasts around the globe come to NYC to experience its history-rich jazz.

With its power to inspire and entertain people, jazz is undoubtedly an important element in the city’s culture which will definitely change and develop as time flies, but will never ever leave the realms of the capital.


Jazz – A Background

Jazz Music Orchestra

Jazz Music Orchestra

The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines jazz as an “American music developed especially from ragtime and blues, and characterized by propulsive syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, varying degrees of improvisation, and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre.”

Put in simple terms, jazz is a unique style of music that is highly improvisational and freely experimental, and as such, is sprinkled with hints of surprises and musical twists all throughout its sonata.

Popular musical instruments that are being used in jazz compositions come from the woodwind, string, percussion and brass family. Examples are piano, saxophone, trombone, clarinet, trumpet, drums, upright bus, and others.


History of Jazz in New York City

So, when did jazz start in New York City? It started during the early nineteenth century.

Jazz in NYC Over the Years

Jazz in NYC Over the Years

The origination of this type of music is a topic that is widely debated upon. However, it is accepted that it takes its roots from New Orleans. It was only in the first decades of the twentieth century that the Ragtime and the Blues ultimately shaped the jazz of today.

Music composers Scott Joplin and W. C. Handy were the ones who combined African-American with the European music to form the musical breakthrough we now recognize as jazz.

From New Orleans, it spread to Chicago in the 1920s. Then, from the person of Duke Ellington – a well-known pianist and composer who contributed to the jazz propagation in Chicago and who moved and settled at the Cotton Club in 1927 – New York jazz was born.

Jazz was heard first in the clubs, bars and bistros of downtown Harlem. During that time, the place was largely populated by African Americans, so they were the ones who first enjoyed hearing the sounds of jazz.

Later on, it reached the ears of the Caucasian audiences in uptown Manhattan and grew tremendously popular in the musical industry.

That was how powerful jazz has been. It was able to break the racial barriers, helped foster the city of New York and is now played throughout the world.


Jazz Clubs in New York City Today

Today, the five boroughs of New York City house several hundreds of Jazz clubs and other musical venues featuring jazz performances.

Jazz Clubs in New York City - Jazz at Lincoln Center

Jazz Clubs in New York City – Jazz at Lincoln Center

The most popular and prominent place, though, is the Lincoln Center (at 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023). It is considered as the centerpiece of jazz in NYC.

Its jazz orchestra, managed by Wynton Marsalis, is composed of 15 members, including only the best soloists, ensemble players and composers of historic and modern jazz.

They started their renditions in the Lincoln Center in the year 1988, becoming one of the finest and biggest bands in the world today. Aside from performances, jazz enthusiasts can attend jazz classes and talks in the center.

Some other popular jazz venues in New York City include:

  • The Cotton Club (in Harlem at 656 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027)
  • Bird Land (at 315 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036)
  • Blue Note (at 131 West 3rd Street, New York, NY 10012)
  • Dizzy’s Club (on Broadway at 60th Street, on the Fifth floor)
  • Jazz Standard (at 116 East 27th Street between Park Av and Lexington Av, New York, NY 10016)
  • The Jazz Museum (in Harlem at 104 East 126th Street, New York, NY 10035)

Jazz is at the heart and soul of New York City’s vibrant history, and is preciously celebrated even today. It is without doubt that jazz will remain and continue to be a pride of New York.

If you are in New York City for a visit and are a lover of jazz music, then you should not miss the chance of a lifetime to visit the best jazz locations in the world and listen to the most brilliant jazz compositions.

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