America’s Great National Treasure

As today is the birthday of Louis Armstrong (b. 1901), it seems an appropriate moment to highlight that great American musical idiom of Jazz. Certainly the syncopation and rhythms of jazz music have swept the globe and shaped modern music, perhaps more than any other influence. 

 

 
Emanuel Harrold has a helpful catalogue of the various ways that the bedrock of jazz is found in the sustaining, lively, even off-beat rhythms of the drum set, with all of its colorful variety. 

And, musical historian Ted Gioia has literally written the book on the standards of the genre, along with numerous other essays on the abiding influence of jazz on America—and the world. 

If you do take a coffee break at some point today, you might want to hop on to YouTube and listen to some of those jazz classics identified by Gioia—and simply enjoy one of America’s greatest national treasures. 

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