What is Jazz Music?

Jazz music is an American musical art form that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. The style’s West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note.

The word “jazz” has become a colloquial term for any music that is easily recognizable as jazz. Since the 1960s, jazz age, or jazz age style, has been used in the US to refer to styles of clothing, furniture, popular music, hairstyles and other cultural artifacts associated with the period between 1910 and 1940.

As a musical genre, jazz is characterized by swing rhythms, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note. Jazz uses the 12-bar blues chord progression and blues scale. Jazz has proved to be very elastic over time with elements of many other genres added into it.