Jazz ​​​​​​​​Music of the 1930's

By: Amy Kate, Petra, Grant

You have probably heard of the Great Depression in history class, right? Have you ever heard of how jazz affected the people during the Great Depression, and how the Great Depression affected jazz? Jazz has a long, complicated history, and this essay is about the musicians, the history, and the feel of jazz during the Great Depression.

Just like everything else in the Great Depression, the jazz business was hit hard. Many musicians went bankrupt and couldn’t play anymore. Some bandleaders, with popular players like Louis Armstrong, were able to find jobs. Then, in the 1935, the jazz business took a turn for the better. This period
Billie Holiday
of time is now called the “Swing Era”. During this era, jazz was extremely popular, and musicians lived well. Many famous jazz players reached the height of their fame during this time. Some familiar players are Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday. Sadly, several of these jazz musicians took up bad habits. This did not stop them from making their mark on jazz history.

Louis Armstrong
Duke Ellington

There were many popular musicians in the 1930's. One popular female vocal stylist during this time was Billie Holiday. Billie's real name was Eleanora Fagan, born in 1915, in Baltimore Maryland. When Billie was growing, up her parents got married after she was born and divorced when she was very young.

When you listen to jazz music it sometimes makes you just stand up and dance. Jazz originated from New Orleans. In 1933 2 million jazz records were sold. Jazz began in the United States in the early 1800’s . The beat of jazz can be slow or fast. The music that you hear from the 1930’s seems to always have 1 solo instrument that sticks out. The other instruments just become part of the background. Jazz from the 1900's seems to never have singing. When the jazz music is fast it makes you happy and makes you want to dance, dance, and dance. When it’s slow and the beat is just flowing free it feels relaxing. The music could sound mysterious and scary. The most common instruments are saxophones, trumpets, and the drums. Go listen to the music, it will make you dance!

Jazz affected the lives of many people during the Great Depression. Jazz offered a chance for a job,a life, and a future to those who had none. It also offered a chance to become famous and rich. No one would know about Duke Ellington if he never learned to play a jazz instrument. Have all your questions been answered now? I hope you are now wiser about jazz after readind this.

Web: Tyle, Chris. "The 1930's in Jazz. Jazz History in Standard Time (1930s). N.p. 2012. Web. 24th March, 2012.http://www.jazzstandards.com/history/history-3.htm
Book: House, Chelsea."Jazz Stars". USA; 1994. Print