Excerpts from Billy Taylor's lectures at the Kennedy Center.

New Orleans and the Southeast

New Orleans is often considered the birthplace of jazz, but in fact there is no one specific place where jazz evolved. Jazz first developed in a broad area of the American Southeast, especially in urban areas like Atlanta. The special conditions in New Orleans: the cosmopolitan qualities of a major international port, the many nightclubs, the relatively easy-going attitudes--even the many pawn shops, helped jazz to flourish there and spread up the Mississippi River, into the heart of America.