XX Century (AtoZ Challenge 2016 – Jazz Age Jazz)

XX Century (Jazz Age Jazz Series) The rhythm of jazz was new, different, subversive, fast. Just like the new century just began

Jazz Age Jazz - XX Century

JAZZ AGE JAZZ - XX Century #AtoZChallenge #jazz the sound of a new era Click To Tweet

X - XX Century (AtoZ Challenge 2016)

Detractors and supporters of jazz argued on many aspects of the music and on its value as a form of art, but they all agreed on one thing: its popularity was tightly linked to the changes in society that had started after WWI. Whether these changes were perceived as positive or negative depended largely on the critic being modernist or traditionalist.
In any case, jazz was often credited as expressing a break with the past and the introduction of a new time and speed that took place after the Great War.

This new rhythm was the expression of life in the city as opposed to life in rural areas. It was the rhythm of machines, the sound of more modern times. The new rhythms were not simply faster. The irregularity and syncopation also gave a sense of hurry, the sense of the unpredictability this new life seemed to bring about.

34th Street - New YorkMany artists of the 1920s caught this sense of constant shifting and changing, a sense of insecurity. The changing conception of time was central to the 1920s sensibility in many fields, and art in particular. This ‘lost’ generation of artists despaired about their fate. They felt confused in the transition from valued already fixed to values that had to be created, uncertain in that diffuse insecurity.
Jazz was already firmly placed in this feeling. It was very often associated with the transition form rural to urban life, from slow to faster times, from before to after, and so it provided a strong symbol for that transition to new values. Jazz became not just a language of music but also a language of visual arts and of storytelling. In the Jazz Age, it was a pervasive presence.

Jazz was the language of this generation. It was an experience that conveyed change – not merely an aspect of a culture affected by change. In its syncopated, totally new rhythms, it lost generation found itself.



Ogren, Kathy J., The Jazz Revolution. Twenties America and the Meaning of Jazz. Oxford University Press, New York, 1989

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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.

10 Comments on "XX Century (AtoZ Challenge 2016 – Jazz Age Jazz)"

  1. Now that’s a clever use of X 🙂 I can only imagine what effect the two world wars had on people’s psyche – especially when WWI was supposed to be the war to end all wars.
    Tasha’s Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)
    Tasha recently posted…X – Xavier Brown – Fictional Phantoms #AtoZChallenge 2016My Profile

    • They were two terrible wars, if for different reasons. WWI (The Great War as it was known back then) is considered by many historians to be the true beginning of the XX century. And for good reasons.

  2. Oh clever! I wondered how you were going to deal with X.
    Anabel recently posted…Toronto: an island walkMy Profile

  3. The XX Century was certainly a turbulent time, interesting how such rapid, uncertain change can generate art and be inspiration.
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    Sophie Duncan recently posted…Murder Most Foul! – X is for eXplanantion? – Cozy Mystery #AtoZChallenge 2016My Profile

    • I actually think that art thrives better in difficult times. Difficulties push fears and uncertainties to come out and the same fears and uncertainties bring people together, to share and try to find some kind of answer.
      The Twenties were certainly such times.

  4. That was tricky but good. I think I should have been around during the Jazz Age. I think I would have it right in.

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    Kathleen Valentine recently posted…X is for Xena & Excalibur: Blogging the #AtoZchallengeMy Profile

    • LOL! But then I always think I like the Twenties because they sound so much like our own times. Only they sound a lot more charming when they’re over. Not so much when you’re living them 😉

  5. Neat use of the X.

    In many ways Jazz grew following WWI, while we got Rock n’Roll after WWII although with other musical forms appearing in their wake. Or is that too simplistic. Was it Korea or Vietnam?

    Roland Clarke recently posted…Y for Yearling – #atozchallengeMy Profile

    • I think you have a point, Roland. As I mentioned before, I do think that 1920s jazz and 1950s rock ‘n roll had a lot in common in terms of relating to society and their change. Coming after a big, terrible, global war probably was a factor.

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