How Did Jazz Influence the 1920s?

Birdland Jazz Club
Apr 30, 2018 · 2 min read
By Anneka/Shutterstock

For lovers of jazz, New York seems to have it all. The city is rich with jazz history, making it the perfect destination for enthusiasts. Jazz was popularized in the 1920s and has since become a key part of our culture. It impacted literature, fashion, and even the politics of the time. As you attend some of the best and oldest New York jazz clubs, think about the various ways 1920s jazz truly shaped our culture.

Literature

Jazz musicians in the 1920s had a lasting effect on the world of literature. This influence began with poetry. Many popular artists of the time, including T.S. Elliot and E.E. Cummings, experimented with informal and unconventional styles, similar to the popular music of the day. These innovations were directly influenced by the jazz-like feel of improvisation. As time went on, future artists were inspired by these works, creating a ripple effect throughout the world of literature thanks to the impact and creative stylings of jazz.

Fashion

For many people, jazz, 1920s fashion, and dancing were inseparable. One of the many reasons for jazz’s popularity was that it was so easy to dance to. Pre-war era clothing was too restrictive to properly move about on the dance floor. Soon, bodices and floor-length dresses were replaced by so-called flapper fashion, with shorter hemlines, flashier dresses, and drop-waist styles. Dancing to jazz required body freedom, necessitating those looser and shorter dresses.

Politics

One of the greatest legacies left behind by the history of jazz is its impact on the political scene. Throughout the 1920s, jazz helped women move beyond stereotypical roles, embracing their sexuality and personal freedom. Jazz halls and nightclubs gave women a place to escape, let loose, and rebel against societal expectations. Famous artists such as Bessie Smith, Lil’ Hardin, and Ma Rainy inspired women to seek out non-traditional careers, including those in the world of arts and culture.

If you are looking for your new favorite jazz club, New York has some of the best in the country. The atmosphere at Birdland captures the essence of jazz culture, featuring the top musicians of today who were clearly influenced by earlier, impactful eras. Tourists, visitors, and locals alike consider Birdland to be one of the best jazz clubs NYC has to offer. Come in or visit birdlandjazz.com to check out the list of incredible performances scheduled on our stage.

Birdland Jazz Club

Written by

Established in 1949, the NYC jazz club Charlie Parker called, “The Jazz Corner of the World.” Edited by Ryan Paternite. Submissions: rp@birdlandjazz.com