The Music of Jazz

The Music of Jazz is an online resource for those who want to learn about the history and origins of jazz music.


Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz styles vary widely increation and expression, but Jazz improvisation is characteristic of the genre as a whole.

The Birth of Jazz

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime.

New Orleans

The city of New Orleans, Louisiana is considered the birthplace of jazz. The music originated there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was created by African American musicians who blended Elements of European and African music. Jazz quickly spread to other parts of the United States and then to Europe and beyond.

Today, jazz is enjoyed by people all over the world. It is often played in concert halls, but it can also be heard in bars, nightclubs, and other venues. Jazz festivals are held in many cities, and jazz radio stations can be found in almost every country.

The Blues

The blues is a musical genre that originated in the African-American communities of the United States around the end of the 19th century. The term “blue notes” referring to the flattened third and seventh scale degrees is derived from this genre. The blue note scale consists of seven notes, including the tonic, and is based on a minor pentatonic scale with an added flat fifth. The flat fifth, or blue note, gives the blues its characteristic sound.

The music of jazz is strongly influenced by the blues. Jazz musicians often use blue notes in their improvisations and compositions. In addition, many jazz standards such as “All Blues” and “St Louis Blues” are based on the blues form.

The Spread of Jazz

Jazz began in the late 19th century in the African-American communities of the Southern United States. It was then spreading to Europe and the rest of the world. Jazz spread because of the popularity of American musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. It also spread because of the popularity of American Jazz records.

From New Orleans to Chicago

In the early years of the twentieth century, New Orleans was the largest city in the American South and a major port for trade with Europe. It was a cosmopolitan place, with a large population of African Americans, who had been brought there as slaves to work on plantations. They brought with them their own music, which was a mix of African and European influences. Over time, this music developed into jazz.

Jazz spread from New Orleans to other parts of the United States in the early 1900s. One of the most important places it went was Chicago. Chicago was a growing city in the Midwest with a large population of African Americans who had migrated there from the Southern states. They brought jazz with them and it quickly became popular in the city’s nightclubs and dance halls.

Some of the most famous jazz musicians came from Chicago, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Earl Hines. They made records that were heard all over the world and helped to spread jazz even further.

From Chicago to New York

In the early 1920s, jazz began to spread out of its birthplace in New Orleans and gain popularity in other cities like Chicago and New York. The style of jazz that developed in each city was influenced by the local music scene as well as the unique personalities of the musicians who inhabited it. In Chicago, for example, the sound of jazz was shaped by the city’s lively theater scene and the popularity of vaudeville shows. Meanwhile, in New York, jazz bands began to experiment with new instruments and sounds, resulting in a more complex and sophisticated style of music.

The Golden Age of Jazz

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as “America’s classical music”. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage.

The Swing Era

The Swing Era is the most popular period of jazz, and it falls between the years of 1935 and 1946. This was a time when big bands and soloists largely defined the genre, as bebop would not emerge until the early 1940s. The signature sound of Swing Era jazz was characterized by a bouncy, infectious rhythm that patients at soldiers recuperating from WWI often found helpful in their recoveries. Hence, this type of music came to be called “hep” or “happy.” In Prohibition-era America, illicit speakeasies became popular social hotspots, and these establishments often featured live jazz music. As such, jazz became inextricably linked with America’s illicit activities, and it acquired a bit of a rebellious reputation.

During the Swing Era, there were two primary subgenres of jazz: swing and Dixieland. Swing was the more popular of the two styles, and it was led by bandleaders such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller. Dixieland was less popular but still had a sizable following; it was led by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five band.


Bebop, or bop, is a style of jazz characterized by fast tempo, improvisation, and complex harmonic structure. It emerged in the 1940s and became popular in the 1950s. Bebop was developed by a generation of young musicians who were dissatisfied with the easy listening style of swing jazz. They sought to add more complexity and harmonic interest to the music. Their playing was often fast and aggressive, with a lot of improvisation. Bebop became popular among Musicians in New York’s underground nightclub scene. It quickly spread to other major cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago.

Jazz Today

It would be impossible to overstate the role that jazz plays in American music. Jazz is an original American art form that emerged in the early 20th century and has since had a profound influence on all genres of music. Today, jazz is as popular as ever, with new artists constantly emerging and gaining popularity.

Jazz Fusion

Jazz fusion (also known as fusion) is a music genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined aspects of jazz harmony and improvisation with elements of rock, funk, R&B, and Latin jazz. During the 1970s and 1980s, jazz fusion evolved further, incorporating more electronic music technology. This genre first developed in the early 1970s with groups like Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago.

Contemporary Jazz

Jazz is not a static music. It is constantly evolving, and has over the last century given rise to a number of different styles and sub-genres. Contemporary jazz is a broad church, encompassing everything from the avant-garde to the commercial, but all contemporary jazz has its roots in the music of the early twentieth century.

The most important development in contemporary jazz has been the rise of what is sometimes called “the jazz fusion”. This is a style of music which combines elements of both jazz and rock, and which first came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Miles Davis was one of the first musicians to experiment with this new style, and his work with musicians such as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter helped to define what would become known as fusion.

Other important contemporary jazz styles include free jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, acid jazz, and smooth jazz. Free jazz is a particularly experimental style which often features extended improvisation; Afro-Cuban jazz incorporates elements of Cuban music; acid jazz emerged from the UK underground club scene in the 1980s and 1990s; while smooth jazz is a more commercial form which developed in the 1980s.

Scroll to Top