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It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing: 6 Fun Facts About Jazz

International Jazz Day Is April 30. Begun in November 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, International Jazz Day highlights jazz and its diplomatic role in uniting people in all corners of the globe. 

International Jazz Day is the culmination of April as Jazz Appreciation Month. Both events celebrate this unique and rich international art form and its ability to transcend cultures and reinforce community and cooperation.

6 Ways Jazz Has Impacted the World

  • Jazz Started Out As Pop

Believe it or not, jazz started out as pop. It was one of the most popular genres in 1920s America. It was created from a fusion of ragtime, European chamber elements, marching band music, and the blues.

  • Jazz Inspired Many Dance Styles

If you love to dance the Charleston, the Lindy Hop, or the Mambo, then you’re a true jazz lover, from your heart down to your Cuban shoes!

  • Jazz’s Influence Transcends Music

In addition to influencing music and dance, jazz also affected fashion, literature, and society. We all know and love the flapper look, which came about because jazz can be so danceable. Literary geniuses like Carl Sandburg and EE Cummings started playing with poetry form and were influenced by the freedom of jazz. And lastly, women found an ‘acceptable’ way to enter the performing (and working) world: as jazz singers.

  • Jazz Influenced Classical

In 1928, Maurice Ravel, the classical composer of important compositions like “Bolero”, arrived in New York, got in a cab, and then ordered the driver, “Take me to Harlem!” He was so excited to finally see this incredible new music performed he didn’t even go to his hotel first. The sounds Ravel heard in Harlem influenced some of his subsequent compositions, including Ravel’s jazz-influenced Piano Concerto in G Major. 

  • Jazz Artists Have Won the Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor

In 1969, Duke Ellington was the first jazz artist to be awarded the Medal of Freedom. Subsequent giants of jazz to receive the honor include Eubie Blake, Mabel Mercer, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Arturo Sandoval.

  • Jazz Increases Productivity and Boosts Creativity

Finally, listening to jazz music activates your most highly creative (theta) brain waves. A little Miles or Coltrane always does wonders for inspiration!

Celebrating International Jazz Day

If you haven’t yet explored jazz, then Jazz Appreciation Month is the perfect time to get started. A world of class, passion, and delight is just waiting for you to discover and love!