The Best Public Domain Jazz Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Check out our list of the best public domain jazz music. This list includes a mix of traditional and contemporary tunes that are sure to get your toes tapping.


Jazz is a genre of music that originated in the African-American communities of the southern United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since its inception, jazz has been a major force in both popular and classical music, and has produced some of the most well-known and iconic musicians in history.

While jazz remains a popular genre today, its roots are firmly entrenched in the public domain. Many of the earliest jazz recordings were made by artists who died before 1955, meaning their work is now available for anyone to use without restriction. In addition, many jazz tunes were composed before 1933, when copyright law began to protect musical compositions.

If you’re looking to add some classic jazz to your collection, or just want to explore the roots of this important American art form, check out our list of the best public domain jazz recordings below.

What is Public Domain Jazz Music?

Public Domain Jazz Music is music that has been composed and published in the United States prior to 1923, or music that was composed and published in the European Union prior to 1970. This music is considered to be in the public domain, which means that it is free for anyone to use, adapt, or perform.

There are many famous Jazz musicians who have composed music that is now in the public domain, such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Jelly Roll Morton. These musicians have created some of the most iconic and timeless Jazz standards, such as “Mack the Knife” and “Take the A Train”.

If you are planning on performing or recording any of these Public Domain Jazz tunes, it is important to note that there may be different versions of these tunes floating around – so make sure to do your research and choose the arrangement that you feel will work best for your project. Also, keep in mind that some of these tunes may have been arrangement by different artists, so you may need to get permission from the arranger if you want to use their specific arrangement.

The Best Public Domain Jazz Music

There is a wealth of great jazz music that is in the public domain, and it can be tough to know where to start. This guide will help you find some of the best public domain jazz recordings, from classic albums to lesser-known gems.

One great place to start is with the Blue Note label, which has a rich history and has released some of the most influential jazz records of all time. Many of these recordings are now in the public domain, and they offer a great introduction to the genre. Another classic label is Prestige, which was home to many great jazz musicians in the 1950s and 1960s. Again, many of these recordings are now in the public domain.

For something a little different, try looking for public domain recordings from small independent labels. These labels often signed talented up-and-coming musicians who were looking for an outlet for their creative vision. As a result, you can find some truly unique and exciting music that you might not have come across otherwise.

Finally, don’t forget to check out compilations and reissues of public domain jazz recordings. These can be a great way to explore the genre if you’re not sure where to start, and they often include rare or hard-to-find tracks that are well worth seeking out.


In conclusion, there is a wide variety of public domain jazz music available, from classic artists like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to more modern musicians like John Coltrane and Miles Davis. No matter what your taste in jazz is, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs in the public domain. So don’t be afraid to explore – there’s a whole world of great Jazz waiting for you!

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