Dixieland (AtoZ Challenge 2016 – Jazz Age Jazz)

Dixieland (Jazz Age Jazz Series) Native and always characteristic of the earlier southern sound, Dixieland, with its sincopated, fast rhythm was the most popular sound of the Jazz Age


Jazz Age Jazz - Dixieland

JAZZ AGE JAZZ - Dixieland #AtoZChallenge #jazz The sound of “collective inprovisation” Click To Tweet

D (AtoZ Challenge 2016)

Although pin-pointing where exactly jazz originated is quite a difficult undertaking, it is generally accepted that early jazz appeared as a recognizable music in and around New Orleans at the turn of the XX century.

New Orleans was the ideal place to produce the kind of multi-influenced music that jazz is. A the turn of the XX century, New Orleans was home to many different cultures that clashed, but also met in a multicultural environment. Many languages were spoken in the city, French, Spanish and English being the prominent. There was a strong Caribbean influence that prompted a high tolerance toward the black community, which allowed slaves to retain much of their culture. Each of these differetn culture brought something to the table of music, but the Creaoles in particular

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong

united in themselves most of these characteristics.
Hig-brow music and low-calss music cohexisted in New Orleans and sometimes crossed path. It was an extraordinarily ripe mix of oral music techniques of lower-class origins, that by merging with a more formal concept of music adapted itself to the new demands of the professional dance halls.
Jazz, this new music, came of age in New Orleans, and when jazzmen left the South and moved North on the tracks of the Great Migration, this music became known as Dixieland.

Dixieland instrumentation and band size could be very flexible but primarily consisted of a “front line” (trumpets or cornet, trombone and a clarinet) and a “rhythm section” (guitar or banjo, bass or tuba, piano and drums). It very much resembled the organization of marching bands in New Orleans, which were probably the firsts to perform Dixieland.
The defining Dixieland sounds is the “collective improvisation”. This happens when one instrument – usually the trumpet – plays the melody or a recognizable paraphrase or variation of it and the other instruments of the “front line” improvise around that melody.
It creates a music that is always evolving and may even sound chaotic at first. In fact, in the 1920s, many people didn’t even consider jazz to be proper music. Thomas Edison famously commented that it sounds better when played backwards.

Still a lot of people did get the gist of it. In the 1920s, Dixieland was probably the most popular form of jazz.




About Entertainment – What is Early Jazz?
Prezi – Dixieland
QuizLet – Dixieland and Early Jazz/Blues from New Orleans
Gonola – Dixieland Jazz: Innovator in New Orleans music history
New World Encyclopedia – Dixieland

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About the Author

I was born, raised and I still live near Verona (Italy), though I worked for a time in Dublin. I started writing fantasy stories as a kid. Today I’m a bookseller who reads fantasy, history, mythology, anthropology and lots of speculative fiction. Somehow, all of this has found its way into my own dieselpunk stories.

53 Comments on "Dixieland (AtoZ Challenge 2016 – Jazz Age Jazz)"

  1. I’ve heard of Dixieland and jazz, but never the two together. I’m learning a lot from your posts!
    Stephanie Faris recently posted…C Is for CombustionMy Profile

    • There’s so much to know about the history of jazz and jazz as a form of music. This is a very complex subject matter, but I’m trying to be as informative as possible 🙂

  2. I’m from a very formal musical background so this whole improvisation thing always makes me shake my head in wonder 🙂
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)
    Tasha recently posted…D – Matilda Dixon & The Dead Men of Dunharrow – Fictional Phantoms #AtoZChallenge 2016My Profile

    • I’ll talk about improvisation in detail further on in the challenge, but I think there is more to music understanding and ‘education’ (though of a different kind than ‘formal’ education) in improvisation than one normally thinks.

      It’s a bit like plotting when you write. I know many writers don’t like plotting because they think it stiffens your imagination. I think it’s quite the contrary: because you have a skeleton that supports your general idea, you are far freer to explore more definite, detailed ideas.
      I’m not a musician, but I understand improvisation in jazz is much the same process.

  3. Dixieland is the type of jazz that I heard first as a child and it’s one of the most accessible forms, in my opinion; my father has an old gramophone and he used to have a lot of 78’s and there was some dixieland music among them. I don’t know if they were original recordings, or if they were later replays, and I couldn’t tell you any names, but my twin sister and I used to love winding that old thing up and putting on some of the strange scratchy old recordings. 🙂
    Sophie’s Thoughts & Fumbles | Wittegen Press | FB3X
    Sophie Duncan recently posted…Murder Most Foul! – D is for Drunkard – Cozy Mystery #AtoZChallenge 2016My Profile

  4. Great post and wonderful music! I feel like time traveling while listening to it…
    Zeljka recently posted…Dmitri MendeleevMy Profile

  5. I love Jazz and have hear of Dixie Land Music but
    I wasn’t sure what Dixie Land was so it is nice
    reading your post as I am learning so much
    from you. And I am able to share these with
    my son in his Homeschooling Music class.

  6. Great post with a lot of information. I enjoyed it.

  7. I feel so much more knowledgeable about music after reading your posts!
    Sheena-kay Graham recently posted…DivergentMy Profile

  8. When I saw your post was about Dixieland.. I almost immediately heard trumpets in the back of my mind. Another excellent post!
    Mary Burris recently posted…#AtoZChallenge D is for DebbieMy Profile

  9. When I was little my grandparents loved to listen to a Hungarian dixieland band. Whenever I hear the term, I still think of that one 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary
    Tarkabarka recently posted…D is for DisabilityMy Profile

  10. I don’t know a lot about Jazz, so your theme is very new and interesting to me!
    -Katy from THE KATY blog

  11. Interesting post. Why do you keep referring it to as the XX century?

    • I know I could probably just say ‘turn of the century’, it would be understood that it’s the beginning of the 1900s, but… I don’t know, it feels more complete 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by.

  12. What a lovely picture of the young Louis Armstrong! We went to New Orleans once – this music was everywhere, it was great.
    Anabel recently posted…The Greenock CutMy Profile

  13. I don’t think I’d ever heard that definition of Dixieland before. I always associated the term with the antebellum South, and not with jazz.

    I love that picture of Louis Armstrong!
    Carrie-Anne recently posted…The Dowager Empress and the DuesenbergMy Profile

    • Mhm… I’m not an expert at all, but I understand that Dixieland actually originated after the Civil War, when African American started off narching bands, in New Orleans. I understand that most of African American music as we know it today originated after the Civil War.

      That’s my understanding at least 😉
      One of the articles I read stated that at first this kind of music was called Dixieland only in the North, and maybe that’s why there’s a slightly negative flare attached to it.

      That photo of Armstrong is one of the best I’ve seen. I like it a lot too 🙂

  14. I’m still learning so much from this! I’ll be a jazz expert by the time it’s done. 🙂
    Megan Morgan recently posted…D – DialogMy Profile

  15. Many of these greats from the past are preserved on YouTube. it’s fun to check out music from a time gone by. great theme!

    I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings.
    D is for Daydreaming and Downloads
    Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

    • You Tube has been invaluable for my research, and not just for this project.
      When I started researching the Twenties for my novels, the first thing I did was combing You Tube for videos from the era, so to get a feel for it.
      I love pictures and videos from the 1920s. I’m lucky to research a time that was already as visual as ours.

      I’ve been reading your theme and enjoying it 🙂

  16. I had no idea Dixieland was a style of Jazz … I always thought it was a nickname for the south 🙂 Another great educational post!
    Molly recently posted…A-Z Challenge: D is for DegasMy Profile

    • Well, I’m not American, so I might be wrong, but I think Dixieland is indeed a nickname from the South. In the 1920s, so in jazz younger days, this kind of music was played especially by New Orleans jazzmen, even when they moved to the North. I suspect that’s the reason why it’s called like this.

  17. Fascinating! I’ve never equated the Dixieland sound with jazz before, but it makes sense.

  18. Never been in or around Dixieland area, but this music is wonderful. Like the addition of the song today. Thanks for the extra information.
    Jeffrey Scott recently posted…Nostalgia TV – DMy Profile

    • It’s very different, isn’t it? When I started researching the 1920s, and therefor jazz (apparently, you can’t do one thing and not the other) I had a hard time with this kind of musci. But now I find that it’s growing on me. I really like all the music I’ve chosen for this series 🙂

  19. Years back when I visited New Orleans (before the big storm), Louis Armstrong was playing but the cover charge was too much to pay. Hung out front with my husband so we could still hear. I’m not normally a jazz fan, but really enjoyed the experience.

    Pioneer Women in Aviation A-Z

  20. Great post with fab music.
    Louis Armstrong had such a unique voice. Loved it

    • Happy you’re liking my theme.
      When I started preparing this challenge, I thought I wouldn’t really address teh music very much, since this is about the social meaning of jazz, but then I’ve seen that I just can’t talk about the music and not include it.
      Searching the videos and choosing the songs it’s proving one of the most enjoyable parts of this challenge 🙂

  21. So that’s what Dixieland is! I’ve enjoyed the sound without knowing what it was called! I’m getting a great education on your blog – Thank you!
    Susan Brody recently posted…D IS FOR DRUGGINGMy Profile

  22. Satchmo! I’ve been playing trumpet since middle school and have enjoyed watching my children grow up with a love for music and playing. I was never good at playing jazz and improv, but it is a big part of my music play list.

    • I’ve never really been a listener of jazz… before I started researching it. But now I’m learning to appreciate it. It’s kind of strange, because, I mean… you’d think you either like a kind of music or you don’t. But the more I learn about jazz history, the more I appreciate it as music.

      • That is the case with most things. As we gain knowledge we can gain appreciation and understanding. Jazz is fascinating to me. When I was teaching in MS I had a 9th grader who was just getting started with jazz and had a growing passion for it. Eventually he and his siblings were able to play with B.B. King. A highlight for them. Their group is Homemade Jamz. They’ve apparently made a name for themselves.
        MckTchr recently posted…Doggy DazeMy Profile

  23. Dixieland Jazz is fun! Love the variety you’re sharing!
    Yolanda Renee recently posted…D – DEADHORSEMy Profile

  24. There’s just something so joyful about Dixieland music. It is impossible to sit still while listening to it.
    I’m tapping my toes right now listening to King Oliver Wa Wa Wa.
    Claire Noland recently posted…E in a Mermaid WorldMy Profile

  25. Excellent article! Some people still don’t consider jazz as music. Their loss…

    John Holton
    Blogging from A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    The Sound of One Hand Typing

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