Jumping Jazz

The origin and meaning of jazz and its place in Columbia, SC

by Evelyn Esquivel / Garnet & Black

Jazz music was born in New Orleans in the early 20th century. African Americans developed what we know as jazz from traditional West African music with hints of European styles. This music allowed them to bring liveliness and tradition into their communities in a segregated America. Jazz is spirited and full of emotion with many variants from the blues style to the dance swing style. The National Museum of American History mentions that jazz musicians place a high value on finding their own sound and style. Thus, jazz is unique to each person and place. 

The ColaJazz Foundation was established in 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina by Mark Rapp, and is focused on bringing jazz to South Carolina. Their vision expresses their goal to be the driving beat in jazz education, performance and outreach providing opportunities for all from the musician to the student to the audience. ColaJazz provides opportunities from workshops to events, radio programs and more. The program is dedicated to building the future for jazz, as they recognize that jazz brings people together.

Students at the University of South Carolina are also contributing to the development of Jazz today. The jazz program at USC offers the bachelor of music, master of music in performance or composition, and doctoral minor programs. Students are trained to become jazz engineers in order to succeed and improvise independently in an ever-changing environment. Models Sibel Craft on saxophone, Wilson Stokes on bass, Malik Pratt on drums, Cameron Coffee on trumpet and Nigel Ouzts on trumpet are all jazz students at USC. These musicians are extending the history and evolution of Jazz with their passion and individual personalities. 

In the future, Craft plans to get a master's in saxophone performance while Stokes would like to break into the jazz scene while receiving a master's. Pratt plans to work as a professor and perform gigs. He would ultimately like to begin his doctorate of musical arts. Coffee is looking to focus on music production and become an established composer as he works to receive a DMA. or be a professor. Ouzts will continue to gig in commercial and jazz settings. 

It is exciting to see what these students will accomplish in the jazz world. They each give a new unique taste to jazz, keeping it alive and spreading the magic of such a special genre. 

Clothes are all sourced from Strange Times Vintage. We thank the Bourbon Whiskey Bar and Cajun-Creole Restaurant in Columbia for allowing us to use their space as a venue for the shoot.