Jazz is a uniquely American music genre that originated in New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jazz music has roots in blues and ragtime, and has undergone many evolutions over the years, from New Orleans jazz in the 1910s, to big band swing in the 1930s and 1940s, to jazz-rock fusion in the 1960s and 1970s, to smooth jazz in the 1980s. One of the key characteristics of jazz music is improvisation, and jazz music places importance on the collaboration of the performers, with no song being played exactly the same way twice.
Jazz as a genre was pioneered by musicians like Scott Joplin, Bessie Smith, and Jelly Roll Morton. Performers like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington helped to solidify the sound of big band swing. The evolution of Jazz-rock fusion was led by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, and Frank Zappa. Smooth jazz slowed the genre down, and featured artists such as Sade, Anita Baker, Al Jarreau, and Grover Washington, Jr.
Here at the IDHH, we recognize the month of April as Jazz Appreciation Month. To celebrate the genre, we are featuring collections from Illinois Wesleyan University, the Chicago History Museum, Knox College, Western Illinois University, and Benedictine University. These collections highlight jazz performers and performances from Illinois. Here are a few of our favorite images from the collections:
On April 9th, 1865, Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee met at Appomattox Courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia, where General Lee surrendered to General Grant. Although the last battle of the Civil War was fought in May of 1865, April 9th marks the official end of the war itself.
To mark this event in our nation’s history, the IDHH is featuring the Boys in Blue Collection from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum. This collection serves as a repository for cabinet cards, tintypes, and cartes de visite of over 8000 Illinois soldiers who served in the Civil War, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum has verified information about what regiment the soldier served in, when they enlisted, where they were from, and when the photograph was taken.
The boys and men in these photographs are the unsung heroes of the Civil War – though they are not often specifically named in history books, they were the backbone of the Union Army and deserve recognition.
Here are a few of our favorite images from the collection: