The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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survival-diluted, to be sure. There's nothing quite like it in. Europe, the source of most of the rest of our music."1
Leonard De Paur, long a student of Afro-American musical origins, and director of a distinguished Negro choir, points out the fallacy of oversimplification in ascribing "African" rhythmic origins to jazz. ""You can break down the pure African influences into many, many divisions, some of greater and some of lesser culture. To trace the rhythmic family tree completely you would have to comb through all the influences in various parts of Africa, define them, then go into Latin America, find out where these influences break off and where they merge with Latin rhythms from Spain and Morocco and trace them to the Delta area, to the Gulf of Mexico, sometimes by way of the Caribbean and Latin America. The levels of culture varied greatly too: even the French and Spanish emigrants brought over were not in all cases educated people—often they were emptied out of jails to colonize."
There is disagreement concerning the relationship between African music and later American forms related to jazz. Accord­ing to Ernest Borneman: "Up to the time when slavery first brought Africans into extensive contact with alien civilizations, African music, from the Ivory Coast to the Congo, had remained without any development of a native harmony. Even today, wherever natives have remained untouched by alien music, chords are only produced as accidental meeting points of three or more lines of melody."
Rudi Blesh and Harriet Janis affirm a relationship, at least on the rhythmic level. Outlining the early impact of Negro ragtime in Chicago during the 1890s, they point out that around the same time the ragtime players were congregating in Chicago "the Dahomeans were startling World's Fair visitors in 1893 with the original African form of the same rhythms/'2
Barry Ulanov, referring to Andr6 Gide's Travels in the Congo with its apparently perceptive reaction to African music, has a conflicting theory: "The music that Gide describes is vaguely related to jazz, but is by no means the same thing; it has only a general resemblance to many different kinds of primitive music, European as well as American ... a comparative analysis of