The Rise of Jazz in Chicago Culture


During the 20th century, Jazz underwent a musical renaissance in Chicago. The presented factor significantly benefited the people of Chicago and the US in the long run. One of the desirable factors experienced due to the establishment and promotion of jazz in the region was the creation of employment. Evidently, a boom was noted in the establishment of industrial jobs which attracted the attention of the young workers across the region (Anderson 135). The factor further prompted a rise in the level of disposable income with a massive rise in demand for music theatres, concert halls, and night clubs. The southern side of the city experienced the establishment of more entertainment districts with venues such as Andy’s Jazz Club and Green Mill being established. The region’s economy continually benefits from the jazz development in that over 100,000 people are attracted to Grant Park every summer to witness the great music styles of the jazz stars in the region (“Chicago..And all that Jazz” n.p).

The Rise of Jazz

Jazz music has its origins in New Orleans. Despite this, most of its history is from Chicago. During the early 20th century, the growth of the manufacturing industries which benefited Chicago economically brought along the culture of jazz music. The promoters available on the southern side of the city were financially well-off and took advantage of the presented opportunity by attracting the best jazz artists from the region. The Original Diexieland Jass Band was one of the common bands invited by the promoters at the time. As the members of the band stayed in Chicago, Bix Beiderbecke became their follower and a legend after learning how to play jazz from the band. Beiderbecke showed his admiration for Louis Armstrong, a horn player from New Orleans. Armstrong was a part of the hottest jazz ensembles, the Creole Jazz Band, of the 1920s (Oler 94).

During the 1920s, the jazz recording industry of Chicago indicated a positive growth as major musicians made their recordings. For instance, in 1926, Ben Pollack Orchestra was recorded by Victor label. The musician affiliated with a West Side musicians group referred to as the Austin High Gang. New York decided to challenge the role of Chicago in capitalizing the jazz music in the 1930’s and 40s. Despite this, the clubs which focused on the jazz musicians ensured that Chicago still remained a destination for the presented music players.

A renaissance was ensured in the 1950s by innovators such as Herbie Hancock. In 1951, a pianist known as Jamal, born in Pittsburgh, established a fan base in Chicago with his post-bop style. Some of the recordings of the pianist were a hit during the time such as the Poinciana (Anderson 135). He did not let his skills go at a waste in that he trained pianists how to become better in the art. His skills enhanced further after winning a Grammy Award as the jazz artist who is globally renowned. Sun Ra also contributed to the development of the jazz music in the region after establishing a record label known as El Saturn. He experimented with the orchestra by implementing new Diaspora and African styles in his music. His label remained in Chicago after deciding to relocate to New York in early 1960s. It is clear that the jazz afro centric culture welcomed jazz revolution. With the Experimental Band established by Richard Abrams, the musicians managed to bring in an African culture into the jazz music, therefore, promoting the prominence of the pieces even to the American.

Meaning of the Rise of Jazz in the African-American Literature

The rise of the Jazz music has significantly impacted the African-American literature. Evidently, the music ensured a relocation of approximately six million African Americans from the states located at the south to the West, East, and Midwest resulting to the Great Migration (Anderson 136). The rise fundamentally impacted the African-American literature as it made it easier for the people to express themselves. Apparently, the market had an increased appetite for the musical style of the black, performing bodies and rhythms. The people could easily express how they felt about racism in a collective manner through their jazz pieces. Clearly, black musicians could connect to the larger community communicating their struggles displayed through their exploitive cultural, political, and socioeconomic arrangements evident during the 20th century (Vaillant 1917). It is evident that during the 20th century, the members of the community could not relate to the world at large as a result of the difficulties in communication driven by racism. But with their music, they could communicate to their fans and the public about what they felt about the racism situation and the changes that were anticipated.


The rise of jazz in Chicago has significantly benefited the members of the community. Through industrialization, jazz was established in the region. The jazz music pieces continue to advance and become better over the years, thus making it easier for the members of the African-American community to engage in self-expression. Through music, the members of the community could relay their feelings and thoughts to the larger community about their difficulties and hardships originating from racism.