New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz. At the turn of the 20th century, musicians from all over the country chose the city as their favorite venue to show off their talents. The jazz flowed out of the city as effortless as the waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River pour into the Gulf of Mexico. Yet, many individual wonder, why did jazz originate in New Orleans and not some other city in the United States?
One of the reasons for the origin of jazz in New Orleans is the culture of the people who live in the city. New Orleans has always been an escetic city. Most people from Louisiana boast a varied lineage with branches that extend into Europe and Africa. In the 1800's, African slaves in New Orleans blended their native styles of music with local music and European sounds to create a unique mixture. The call-and-response, which is synonymous with African music, became the basis for a number of musical movements, including jazz.
In addition to drawing from African music, blacks learned to play musical instruments that Europeans brought with them to the New World. One instrument that they especially had an affinity for was the violin. They combined African music with the violin and created dances that blended with the sounds they produced. The musical ingenuity of those living at the time did not go unnoticed by whites. They adopted the musical styles of blacks and profited from their seizure.
Eventually, black musicians reclaimed the music that they created and developed the jazz movement. New Orleans was at the forefront because it was home to a number of people of African descent. In the early stages of jazz, there were a number of small clubs and juke joints in New Orleans where musicians performed in order to hone their craft and stamped it as a completely New Orleans invention.
Once musicians worked at smaller venues, New Orleans had a number of larger clubs where they could play their music. While working as a musician was a hard gig in most parts of the United States, New Orleans was one of the few places where they could make a living. Even black musicians could become household names in New Orleans because, although it had some of the ill-effects of Jim Crow, it was one of the most integrated cities in the South. Consequently, black musicians weren't limited to playing jazz in shot gun establishments and could play in actual clubs that white audiences went to for musical entertainment.
Just like any form of music that is associated with a particular area, the origin of jazz was the result of the people living in New Orleans, their ingenuity, and the opportunity to work on their craft. From its beginnings in New Orleans, other places, nationally and internationally, studied the sounds of jazz to create their own versions of the music. Even with their unique nuances, however, they have to pay homage to the place from hence the music blossomed.