people playing wind instruments
Photo by Kendall Hoopes on

Remember Ahmad Jamal: Jazz Really Is American Classical Music


For centuries, jazz has been the heartbeat of American music. It influenced how we listen to and enjoy all forms of music, from pop and rock to rap. Some debate whether or not jazz is classical music, but musicians like Ahmad Jamal contend that it is… American classical music, and they’re spot-on.

This blog post will explore how Jazz is America’s Classical Music: its influence throughout history, its dedication to improvisation and experimentation, why instrumentalists distinguish it among other genres –– in short, everything you need to understand why even devout lovers of chamber or orchestra works agree with Ahmad Jama. Jazz deserves recognition as one of America’s greatest musical traditions.

Note: Ahmad Jamal died yesterday, April 16th, 2023, at the age of 92.

by David Stone

Introducing Ahmad Jamal and the Movement for Jazz Appreciation

For Ahmad Jamal, jazz was much more than just a musical genre – it was a way of life. His passion for jazz has turned him into a celebrated musician and a key figure in the movement for jazz appreciation.

With his unique style and masterful playing, Ahmad earned admiration from music lovers all around the world. His focus on the silence between notes in the 1950s. was a revolutionary turn away from the dominant Bebop form of the time.

His talent has influenced some of the most famous jazz musicians of all time. Miles Davis said all of his inspiration came from Jamal. And continued inspiring new generations throughout his life.

The History of Jazz and Its Roots in African American Culture

Jazz music’s rich history intertwines with the African American experience. Its roots can be traced back to the late 19th century when African American musicians in New Orleans fused elements of ragtime, blues, and European classical music.

Jazz soon grew, spreading throughout the United States. Within a few decades, it became a symbol of cultural expression and resistance against racism and oppression. From the greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Wynton Marsalis and Harry Connick, the genre evolves while staying true to its origins.

Today, jazz music asserts itself as American classical music. It’s a reminder of the resilience and creativity of the African American community. Watch a live Kenny Garrett set and feel the power and art fused in song.

Innovations of Jazz That Have Influenced Music Genres

Jazz is a powerful force shaping the music landscape of today. With the birth of jazz in the late 19th century, many innovations emerged that have transformed music as we know it.

One of these innovations is t improvisation, which has been adopted in various genres, from rock to hip-hop. Another significant influence of jazz is the use of complex chord progressions, which have been integrated into classical music compositions.

Jazz has also contributed to the development of syncopated rhythms, which have influenced the creation of funk, soul, and R&B. The various innovations of jazz continue to inspire and shape the evolution of music genres today.

The Connection Between Jazz and American Identity

Jazz is a quintessentially American music genre, developed and embraced by people from all walks of life. Through its evolution, from ragtime to bebop to fusion, jazz has reflected the changing social and cultural landscape as a means of expression for both artists and audiences.

With its improvisational essence and diverse instrumentation, jazz embodies the spirit of freedom, creativity, and innovation.

Even as jazz has spread throughout the world, its roots remain firmly planted in the American experience.

How Jazz Has Become an Art Form In Its Own Right

Jazz is an extraordinary form of music that captivates audiences but is also an art form.

From humble beginnings in the late 19th century, jazz evolved into a genre that encapsulates and reflects the times in which it’s created.

With its unique fusion of African American rhythms, European harmonics and improvisation, jazz established itself as American classical music that inspires and influences musicians worldwide.

Jazz musicians communicate emotions through their instruments, creating something unique and original with every performance. It’s a melting pot of creativity and self-expression. Each artist brings a unique style and sound to the mix.

Jazz has transformed from mere music to a rich and vibrant art form full of soul, style, and substance.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Jazz Appreciation and Preservation

Jazz has stood the test of time, with roots that trace back to the 19th century. As time progresses and technology advances, the question arises: what does this mean for the future of jazz appreciation and preservation?

Will the increasingly digital world of music consumption leave jazz by the wayside? Or will it open up new avenues for jazz to reach and captivate new audiences?

While the answers are not yet clear, what is certain is that jazz will continue to hold a place in the hearts and ears of music lovers around the world, and efforts to preserve and celebrate this uniquely American art form will persist for generations to come.

Therefore, Ahmad Jamal’s efforts to re-contextualize jazz as an essential form of American Classical music has a tremendous impact on the appreciation and preservation of this genre. As times evolve, technology breakthroughs and generational ideologies shift, recognizing jazz as a cornerstone of modern American culture that must be passed down from generation to generation.

Undoubtedly, jazz’s rich history and culture have profoundly influenced today’s music scene.

Despite its struggles for widespread recognition, artists with their passion for traditional jazz sound ensure that this form of art both endures and thrives in the modern age. Jazz will be a meaningful and enduring part of the American cultural landscape — now and in the future.

The Roosevelt Island Daily is always free to read. But our expenses are not. Publishing has costs beyond the human ones of writing and reporting. We appreciate your generous contribution in support our work. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Previous Story

Who Is Abraham Hicks Now? A Skeptical Look at the Woman Behind the Law of Attraction

Next Story


Latest from A Life in Art

0 $0.00
%d bloggers like this: