Jazz is an genre of music that originated in African American communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is characterized by improvisation, syncopated rhythms, and the use of various musical forms such as blues, swing, and bebop.
One of the main reasons that much of jazz is instrumental is due to the nature of jazz itself. Jazz was developed as a musical style that emphasized improvisation, and the use of instruments was essential to facilitate this improvisation. Improvisation requires the ability of the musicians to communicate musically in real time, and this communication is best achieved through the use of instruments.
Another reason for the instrumental nature of jazz is the historical context in which jazz developed. Jazz was developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during a time of great racial tension in the United States. African American musicians were often excluded from mainstream musical venues and were forced to perform in more informal settings, such as taverns and dance halls. In these settings, instrumental music was more practical, as the noise level made it difficult for vocal music to be heard.
Additionally, jazz was often used as background music in these informal settings, and instrumental music was better suited for this purpose than vocal music. The improvisational nature of jazz also made it well-suited for use as background music, as the musicians could respond to the mood and energy of the room and create music that fit the atmosphere.
The instrumental nature of jazz also reflects the influence of other musical styles on the development of jazz. Jazz was heavily influenced by blues, which was primarily an instrumental form of music, and by European classical music, which also relied heavily on instrumental performance. These musical influences helped to shape the instrumental nature of jazz and to establish it as a predominantly instrumental genre.
In conclusion, jazz is predominantly instrumental due to its emphasis on improvisation, its historical context and the influence of other musical styles. The improvisational nature of jazz and its use as background music in informal settings made instrumental performance more practical and suitable. The influence of other musical styles, such as blues and classical music, also helped to establish jazz as a predominantly instrumental genre.