The fourth entry in the Texas music series

It has been said that jazz is the only truly uniquely American music innovation. Jazz originated in the African American communities in and around New Orleans in the late nineteenth century, with its origins in blues and ragtime sounds. It then spread up the Mississippi into places such as Memphis and St. Louis, and eventually made its way to centers such as Chicago and New York. It is a form in which improvisation plays a major role.

The East Texas Historical Association provides this column as a public service. Scott Sosebee is an associate professor of history at SFA and the executive director of the association. He can be contacted at; If you enjoy Dr. Sosebee’s weekly columns, SFA Press has published a new book with a compilation of his material over the last ten years. It is titled What Is It About Texas?. You can purchase the work through Texas A&M Press Consortium at

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