Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jazz Appreciation Month

Jazz. Jazz is the most consequential, influential and innovative music to emerge from the United States, and New Orleans, Louisiana, is widely known as the birthplace of jazz. No city, except perhaps for New York, has received more visiting jazz aficionados than New Orleans.

Ragtime. This syncopated, quintessentially piano music is one of the roots of jazz. A small display of artifacts from Scott Joplin, "The King of Ragtime Writers," is at the State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri — the town where Joplin composed his famous Maple Leaf Rag. Sedalia hosts the annual Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. In much larger St. Louis, you can visit one of Joplin's homes, the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site.

Blues. The twelve-bar blues is arguably the only musical form created wholly in the United States, and the state of Mississippi often is considered the birthplace of the blues. Certainly the state produced many leading blues musicians, including Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. Most came out of the broad floodplain known as the Mississippi Delta, which runs 322 kilometers along the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee, south to Vicksburg, Mississippi. This part of Mississippi boasts three modest blues museums: the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, the Blues & Legends Hall of Fame Museum in Robinsonville and the Highway 61 Blues Museum located in Leland.

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