The Effect of 52nd Street in New York on Jazz Between 1920-1950 Essay Sample

10 October 2017


The term “Jazz” has become a common portion of the American slang. both as a noun to depict a type of music and as a verb to depict something that is fancy or enhanced beyond the norm. such as a “jazzed up” auto or even another piece of music. For all of the free usage of the term Jazz. nevertheless. really few people have likely given much thought. or taken the clip to recognize. precisely where the musical genre of Jazz came from. where it blossomed. and who helped it to make so. Controversial from its origin. frequently reviled in the mainstream imperativeness. but loved by a immense figure of people of many different races and backgrounds. Jazz has had the power to ironically entertain. inspire. and offend at the same time. Interestingly plenty. nevertheless. this musical genre is by and large accepted as being a truly American musical manner. and from it. many other musical manners have been born. blended. and augmented. All of this can be better appreciated by even the most insouciant music fan by looking closer at Jazz history and the high spots of it.

Upon taking a closer expression at Jazz history. outstanding beginnings on the subject universally agree that 52neodymiumStreet in New York. from the 1920s to the fiftiess. was the topographic point and clip of the flower of Jazz ( Porter. Reed. Shaw ) . With this in head. this paper will take a trip back in clip to the Jazz nines of 52neodymiumStreet during that polar clip. discuss and place the outstanding creative persons of the clip. and besides discuss Bebop. a close musical relation of Jazz. Upon decision of this research. the reader will hold gained a higher understanding/appreciation. for this music.

A “Visit” to 52neodymiumStreet. Circa 1920-1950

In order to to the full understand. and appreciate. the fortunes of the Jazz period of 1920-1950 in New York. finally coming to rest on 52neodymiumStreet. it is necessary to take a trip back in clip to that epoch and larn precisely how/why Jazz came to turn up where it did.

Originally. from the New York point of view. Wind was mostly found in the nines. bars and bistros of Harlem. which at that clip was about entirely populated by African Americans. but visited often by Whites who. intrigued by this new music they had been hearing so much about. ventured into parts of New York that were antecedently foreign to them ( Tirro ) . Over clip. nevertheless. the music grew in popularity to the point where its fan base extended beyond African Americans to even more white audiences of Uptown Manhattan. helping to some extent in the relaxation of racial barriers. something that was rather rare up to that clip ( Shaw ) . A celebrated expert on the subject of the Jazz nines of 52neodymiumStreet. New York. summed up the location and logistics of the nines of the epoch as follows:

“ ( Jazz nines were ) A monochrome of five-story brownstone edifices in whose drab and cramped street degree insides – one time known as English Basements – there were more nines. bars. and bistros than crates in an overstocked warehouse. Known in its flower as Swing Street or Swing Alley. the street really included the block past the elevated Sixth Avenue. now the Avenue of the Americas. The nine on the westerly block…were ever like the dorsum of the orchestra in theatre. ”( Shaw. p. 3 ) .

Apparently pullulating with Jazz nines. 52neodymiumStreet of New York. get downing in the 1920s. can reasonably be considered the genteelness land for the move of Wind from being entirely isolated to one racial group into others. every bit good as a geographic move to another portion of a major American metropolis. So popular and powerful were the Jazz nines at this clip. set uping American civilization and values. that noted writer F. Scott Fitzgerald would finally term this clip period as “The Jazz Age” . a moniker that has remained to this twenty-four hours ( Chevigny ) .

Within this drove of Jazz nines. at the vertex of The Jazz Age. there existed some nines that were so popular and important that they are still written about today. A treatment of these nines is besides in order.

Baseball clubs of the Era

The nines that could be found in Manhattan during The Jazz Age may hold changed locations. but did non wholly change their somewhat wicked ways. When nines were located preponderantly in Harlem. they were hotbeds for organized offense. chancing and frailty. every bit good as the sale of intoxicant. which of class was illegal during the epoch of Prohibition. Although it is true that the move of the majority of Jazz nines from Harlem to 52neodymiumStreet during the 1920s brought the nines to a wider and more racially diverse audience. do no error. the nines did non wholly reform from their seedy Harlem being. On 52neodymiumStreet. most of these Jazz nines had a double intent. besides functioning as “speakeasies” . or gross revenues locations for illegal Prohibition-era intoxicant ( Shaw ) . Fueled by this contraband drink. the Jazz nines thrived and were normally filled to capacity.

Among the many Jazz nines of 52neodymiumStreet. a few still stand out as kinds of historical landmarks. and some still exist in the present twenty-four hours. One nine which rose to prominence during The Jazz Age and still maps today is “Jack and Charlie’s 21” which. at that clip. featured small atmosphere. seamy conditions. and watered down drinks. as opposed to cabaret-style nines like “The Onyx” which was slightly more appealing to the clients. Over the period of 1920 to 1950. every bit many as four nines boasted the name “The Famous Door” ( Chevigny ) . A modern-day Jazz author of the epoch made a general appraisal of these nines as follows:

“all the nines were shaped like shoe boxes. and they had dingy canopies outside… . Inside. at that place did non look to be any difference. although I am certain that the colourss of the walls. if you could see them through the coffin nail fume. were different. The tabular arraies were three inches square and the chairs were difficult wood. The drinks were likely watered. They were suffering topographic points. There was nil to them but the music.( Chevigny. p. 42 )” .All of the generalisations and unfavorable judgments aside. the nine of this clip gave advanced and exciting Jazz artists a opportunity to construe this music and portion their endowments with a broad audience.

Artists of the Era

No treatment of The Jazz Age in New York. or anyplace else for that affair. would be complete without some geographic expedition of the musical creative persons that brought Jazz into the spotlight and helped it to turn and germinate. Pioneers in wind music include Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. acclaimed to be the first extremely successful solo Jazz cornetist. “Duke” Ellington. noted as the most outstanding bandleader of The Jazz Age. and Charlie “Yardbird” Parker. one of the most originative and advanced instrumentalists of this polar epoch in Jazz history ( Tirro ) . In add-on to these innovators. literally 1000s of extremely talented Jazz instrumentalists played for small wage and even less acknowledgment in many of the most creaky. foul nines of 52neodymiumStreet. non motivated by celebrity or luck. but inspired by the love of Jazz. and the worship of the fans who ever kept the party traveling and cried out for more.

Get downing out in the Jazz genre and developing his ain instinctive. and typical playing manner. “Yardbird” Parker. along with many others. is by and large credited with being the male parent of the direct descendent of Jazz known as Bebop. Because of Bebop’s close relationship with Jazz. a brief word about it will be presented.

A Word About Bebop

Bebop. as it came to be known. is difficult to depict in words. but with that purpose. allow it be said that it is a faster. more rhythmic. and frequently improvisational outgrowth of Jazz. This genre was brought to prominence and perfected by the 1 and merely Charlie Parker. whose self destructive life style of intoxicant and drug maltreatment ironically expanded his artistic skylines and allowed him to step into undiscovered musical district in the definition of Bebop ( Reed ) . It should besides be noted that Parker’s endowments inspired another draw a bead oning instrumentalist who would in clip go a maestro of Bebop and pick up where Parker left off upon his ill-timed decease. This man’s name was John “Dizzy” Gillespie. whose immense. whiffing cheeks became every bit celebrated as the sweet music that they created with the assistance of a specially modified cornet ( Porter ) . The point in discoursing Bebop is that Jazz. straight and indirectly. has inspired people and musical manners for coevalss.


This paper has shown many of the high spots of New York’s 52neodymiumStreet’s impact on Jazz for over 30 old ages. What mere words can non accurately gaining control. nevertheless. are the cultural alterations that this street. dumbly crowded with largely moth-eaten Jazz nines and fly-by-night characters. made in the United States throughout a formative period in its history. as the state struggled to happen an individuality and flight from world in the challenging old ages after World War I and World War II every bit good. In shutting. it can accurately be said that the forfeits that the underpaid and frequently criticized Jazz instrumentalists of 1920 to 1950 made a wise investing in this music. as it has brought untold joy to 1000000s of music fans and inspires new instrumentalists to this really twenty-four hours.

Plants Cited

Chevigny. Paul.Gigs: Wind and the Cabaret Laws in New York City. New York: Routledge. 2005.

Porter. Eric.What Is This Thing Called Jazz? African American Musicians as Artists. Critics. and Militants. Berkeley. Calcium: University of California Press. 2002.

Reed. Harry A. “Yardbird Suite 1: Charlie “Yardbird” Parker ( 1920-1955 ) and the Convergence of Kansas City and New York City Nightclubs in the Birth of Bebop. ”The Western Journal of Black Studies22. 1 ( 1998 ) : 1.

Shaw. Arnold.52nd Street: The Street of Jazz. New York: Da Capo P. 1977.

Tirro. Frank.Wind: A History. New York: Norton. 1993.

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