Creole Participation in the Creation of New Orleans Style


Like all other genres of music, jazz has different styles. Oneparticular style that has caught the eye of many musicians is the NewOrleans. Many people have tried to establish the root of this uniquestyle including talking to seasoned jazz musicians in order to gathertheir point of view. Eventually, experts have been able to come upwith two theories that explain the origin of the New Orleans style-uptown/down town theory and the generational theory. The analysis ofthe style seeks to compares and contrasts between the two theoriesput forward.

The uptown/downtown theory is of the view that the mixing of theuptown’s African Americans and downtown’s Creoles of color ledthe emergence of the unique style in New Orleans. The merging ofthese two groups of musicians created a unique style owing to thedifference in their background and training. Whilst the Creoles ofcolor learned their music through being taught in thee styles ofWhite people classical, the African American players developed theirown style that was more inclined to African traditions. When theCongress finally ruled that the Creoles of color were not equivalentto the White man and therefore ridded them of their racial status,they had no option but to play alongside black jazz musicians. Beforelong, the two categories of musicians had joined forces to come upwith a unique sound.

On the other hand, the generational theory suggests that thedevelopment of the New Orleans style was due to a new generation ofCreoles of color who were more inclined to the hotter and rough styleof jazz. Unlike their predecessors who played a refined style of jazzand were able to read notes, this new generation of players decidedto take a U-turn. Part of the reason for the generational change wasthat the rough style had gained so much popularity that it wasimpossible to defeat it. Musicians who played the rough style tookmost of the jobs that were available in the industry. The newgeneration of Creoles of color thought that if they were to survivethe wave of rough jazz, then they had to change their style. Inaddition, the Creoles of color who were born after the passing of thesegregation law by the Congress did know how to read and they dwelledon the rough style.

However, it is also important to note that the Creoles of color had amajor role to play in both theories. This group of musicians wasresponsible for learning the refined style of playing that wascharacteristic of White musicians. They also learned how to read, askill that later turned out to be useful in the future versions ofthe New Orleans style. The imposition of the segregation for Creolesof color in 1895 created a new crop of players who were capable ofreading and playing the rough style at the same time. This new breedof musicians is largely responsible for the unique style of NewOrleans.

In conclusion, both theories seem to point out at the key role thatthe Creoles of color played in the development of the New Orleansstyle. However, the difference lies in the fact that theuptown/downtown theory suggests that the style was created through amerger of creoles and African players. On the other hand, thegenerational theory suggests that the style developed as a result ofchanges in the new generation of players and fans.