The video below contains excerpts from some of the most famous jazz musicians in the 1920's. Notice the variation of social classes, race, and gender in the audiences, for the Jazz Age was supported by the idea that some universal wonders, such as music, should be for everybody, no matter the amount of money you have or the color of your skin.
The Jazz Age initiated a series of "gases and breaks," dividing America into those sticking to tradition and those immersed in this new and exuberant culture. For much of American society, the experience of going to dance halls and listening to jazz performers was craved, with new venues having to be built to accomodate for the high demand of the music genre. However, many did not agree with some aspects of jazz music. The newspaper below from the early 1900's calls jazz a "barbaric throb" and asserts that jazz came from a "string of savagery." The idea of music originally sung and danced to by Africans and slaves becoming a cultural piece of American society was terrifying to some. Even woman's rights activists dismissed jazz, saying that the provacative dances that were performed to the music "encouraged rape." These different hesitations about the Jazz Age caused some "breaks," where Americans put their feet on the brakes and tried to stop these cultural immersions from occurring. Nevertheless, the "gases" outweighed the "breaks," as jazz became a fascination throughout America and later Europe, speeding right into the 1930's as an integral part of culture within the U.S.
This newspaper article discusses the savage nature of jazz music and its affiliation with the 1920s. Music coming from Africa was controversial during the 1900s, so jazz music was accepted by some, but greatly opposed by others.
Overall, the Jazz Age was an incredibly successful and integral piece of the Roaring Twenties. Not only did it bring a sense of spirit and spontaneity to the U.S., it also revolutionized the way Americans thought about social hierarchy. Jazz performers made sure to advertise that jazz was for everyone: black and white, male and female, rich and poor. Jazz music was able to break through the social classes and provide a sense of unity throughout all citizens of America, bringing the nation even closer to equality among all its citizens. The popularity of jazz extended to a wide range of citizens, calling for them to accept their brothers and sisters, no matter who they are or what they looked like. This sense of amalgamation between U.S. citizens is the greatest takeaway of the Jazz Age, and aided in bringing about a feeling of civil justice and equal rights throughout the Roaring Twenties which would become a seriously controversial issue as America continued into the mid-1900's.