The Roaring 20’s

Two types of music dominated the stages throughout the 1920’s up until the 1940’s, jazz music and Broadway musicals. One of the reasons for Broadway’s success in the 1920’s was the success of 18 delegates of the ASCAP that lobbied for stricter copyright laws. Musical theatre was at its peak at the time when more than 50 shows were being produced annually.

The Roaring Twenties brought about a generation of musicians that would strive and entertain the public for the next two decades. The sales for African American records went significantly up and prominent artists like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong emerged, among others. New York, Chicago and New Orleans became the headquarters for the jazz music of the time.

Although the 1930’s Great Depression was a hard time for jazz musicians, it was in this period were Swing emerged. This new sound developed in popular Harlem clubs in New York. More than 50 million swing records were sold during this decade. This genre of music began to be heard by white Americans and allowed these to get closer to jazz music as well, in an age when segregation between whites and blacks was a big deal.

Another genre born from jazz music was big band, the main difference between the latter was the number of artists in an ensemble. The name of the band was usually the same as its leader who usually composed the lyrics as well. Fletcher Henderson can be attributed to whom started big band in the 1920’s. Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller were among the most prominent big band artists.

Jazz in the 1920’s was a musical force that brought together many talents no matter the race. Even though Jim Crow laws were in place at the time, the music brought together artists that saw no boundaries in doing what they loved. Music sees no color or race no matter what the decade is. It is a form of expression and it should be embraced.