A brief background behind Jazz and Hip-Hop music by Michaella Ktori

Two performers. One is playing a saxophone and one has a microphone.

Student Engagement Ambassador, Michaella, introduces a brief background behind the music genres, jazz and hip-hop, and how they were influenced by the Black community.


Jazz is an  improvisational musical style established by African Americans and inspired by both European harmonic structure and African rhythms.

Jazz is a kind of music that is timeless. It changes and evolves as time goes by. Since the beginning of the 20th century which was the period where jazz was born, it is going through different phases.

The components that distinguish jazz are largely derived from West African musical origins as brought to the North American continent by slaves, who kept them in part despite all odds in the plantation culture of the American South.

Moreover, Black slaves came from a variety of West African tribal groups, each with their own musical styles. As a result, a wide range of Black musical preferences were gathered on American territory. These, after all influenced European Musical elements.

The essential instruments for Jazz music are:

  1. Drums – Famous jazz drummers include Art Blakey, Max Roach, and Billy Cobham.
  1. Bass – Famous jazz bassists include Charles Mingus, Ray Brown, Dave Holland, and Gary Peacock.
  1. Keyboard – Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, and Jason Moran are just a few of the many legendary jazz pianists and keyboard players.
  2. Guitar – Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, and Mike Stern…
  1. Trumpet – Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Wynton Marsalis
  1. Trombone – Robin Eubanks and Turk Murphy
  1. Saxophone – Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, and Michael Brecker
  1. Vocals – Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Ella Fitzgerald


Hip hop is a culture. Hip hop is not only music, it is art, dancing and style. Hip hop music was first created in the 70s. It was born in the poor neighbourhoods of New York city by African American and Latino teenagers. As I included before the hip-hop style also included breakdance and graffiti art.

Many unemployed youngsters were finding a job as DJs. They were learning mixing and deejaying techniques. They were preforming at hood parties and sometimes ask someone to be their MC. The DJ would be introduced by the MC, who would encourage everyone to dance and have a wonderful time. Some MCs attempted to be more entertaining by talking in rhythm with the music and utilising rhymes, and in doing so, they developed rapping.

Fun facts about Hip-Hop:

    the most popular explanation about the name, is that Keith (”Keef Cowboy”) Wiggins, a member of the rap group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five created it. In reference to a friend who had joined the army, the rapper used the phrases hip/hop/hip/hop, simulating the sound of troops marching. Then the phrase hip-hop was used in more and more songs.
    Although not the first hip-hop song, the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” (1979) was considered the genre’s first big single. Within weeks after its debut, it became a chart-topping sensation and gave rise to a new subgenre of pop music.

Why not, listen to a Hip-Hop playlist:

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