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The Heritage of Jazz: African American Influence in American Music

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Jazz is a uniquely American invention, and no group played a bigger part in that invention than African American musicians. This beautifully designed supplement traces the origins of jazz, profiles jazz greats, explains the distinctions between different kinds of jazz and explores improvisation and other techniques. This tab is a great February-March offering: Start it in February for Black History Month and extend it into March, which is Music Appreciation Month. Or use it independently anytime for music history or arts education. This tab was honored nationally for excellence in the 2006 Distinguished Achievement competition of the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP/EdPress).

Sample Newspaper Activity
Jazz was a great innovation in the history of music. It also had great importance in breaking down racial barriers between white and black musicians and audiences. Great jazz musicians exposed white audiences to African American heritage and raised awareness of African American creativity. Music continues to break down barriers today. Find a story or photo of a popular musician who is African American. Think about his or her music. Then write a paragraph or short essay explaining how the work of this musician is breaking down barriers, increasing diversity or expanding cultural awareness in the United States today.

Sponsor Suggestion
Civil rights groups, music appreciation groups, music stores, record labels, colleges with music degree programs