jazz expression





I have definitely learned a lot about the Evolution of Music in this class. I found it to be very intriguing. So when I was faced with the chore of deciding what I would do my report on, I chose to use the book Black Music in America by James Haskins. This book gave a detailed account of not only the music genres but it’s performers. American music is made up of music from many different types of ethnic backgrounds. What gives this book a plus is that it highlights aspects American music, and its performers. The people and events that really caught my attention were the concert singers, Minstrelsies, Jubilee songs, and brass bands. Born as a slave, a girl by the name of Elizabeth Greenfield moved to Philadelphia. She moved there with her Mistress and her parents. Luckily while in Philadelphia they were set free. At the age of forty-two she moved to buffalo New York in order to embark on new opportunities as a singer. When she reached New York opportunity came knocking. She began a career of concert singing. With a range of three and one quarter octaves you would think that opportunity kept knocking, but it didn’t. Therefore she moved to Europe where she would get the attention and credit that she deserved. While in Europe Elizabeth was shown great appreciation for her talent. Even Queen Victoria demanded that she performed for her at the Buckingham Palace. She gained newfound popularity in the states, because of her new accomplishments. As we know, it wasn’t easy for blacks to make a living in the U.S. That forced blacks to either perform in Europe or the northern states of the U.S. Some blacks even had to resort to performing in Minstrelsies. Minstrelsies started out as an avenue for whites that were trying to embark on new and exciting cultures. By this time America was free from Britain, and since white America no longer was attached to Britain, they ventured out to gain a sense of American culture. White minstrel actually used to visit plantations to study the way blacks interacted with each other. When performing, these white Minstrels would take coal and color their faces black. Their performances consisted of skits that including music and dance routines , which imitated blacks. Initially minstrelsies weren’t brought about with the pure intent of poking fun at Blacks. But after the Civil War things changed. Whites stopped visiting the plantation for new material. They began to use the same negative material over and over again. This is what gave birth to many of the Stereotypes that African Americans are victim to, even today. James Bland was one of the African Americans who gained popularity by performing and composing in the black face. After being a part of white minstrelsies, Bland eventually had the opportunity to play in an all black Minstrel called Haverly\'s European Minstrel Show. After the performers departed from that group, Bland decided to stay in Europe While living in Europe Bland was allowed to perform in shows without having to put on the “black face”. He became extremely popular. Eventually he returned to the U.S. where he couldn’t fit in because American Music had taken a turn since the time that he left. Another group of people that also tried to sing (what I’ll call) “acceptable” music are The Fisk Jubilee Singers. They were a classy group of singers that started out with the intent to raise money for their school. They began with the plan to sing choruses, duets, solos and other “acceptable” forms of American Music. Over time, with the influence of their mentor George White, they began to sing Negroes spirituals. On their first tour to Europe they sang before Queen Victoria and her royal family. Due to the predominately white audiences hunger for Old Negroes Spirituals, the Fisk Jubilee singers were able to raise a large amount of money for their school. Another sector of the Black music history that I think is extraordinary is the brass band sector. I did not know that one of the things that helped popularize brass bands was the ordinance of New Orleans that restricted prostitution to black neighborhoods. This caused “between fifteen hundred and twenty two hundred