Jazz is a genre of music that originated in the late XIX — early XX centuries in the USA as a combination of European harmony and forms with African musical elements. The characteristic features of this style include improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and unique method of performing rhythmic patterns —swing. Jazz has been developed by musicians due to their experiments with rhythmic and harmonious models.

Birth: 1897 Bloom: 1938

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Jazz emerged as a combination of several musical cultures and national traditions. It`s originated in African lands. African music is typified by complex rhythms and dances with fast stomping and clapping. The music genre ragtime is based exactly on the main characteristic features of African music. Subsequently, ragtime rhythms in a combination with blues elements gave a birth to a new music genre — jazz.

Jazz has its roots in blues. It roots as far back as slaves from Africa were delivered to the territory of the New World. They were not from one tribe, that`s why they almost couldn`t understand each other. The need to consolidate was the reason for forming one common culture (including musical culture) of African Americans. Processes of mixing African culture with European started in the XVIII century and by the XIX century they had led to the emergence of proto-jazz, and then to the style considered as jazz today.

Nowadays, there are many types of jazz music, and much more of crossover genres like mixes of jazz with electronics, pop music or rock. New Orleans jazz (today it is also called traditional) is said to be the basement of jazz. This term defines the music which was played by jazz musicians in New Orleans during 1900-1917. By the way, at that time there were many New Orleans jazz musicians who played in Chicago and released records since 1917. This period is also known as The Jazz Age in the history of jazz.

During the age-old history of jazz several new movements appeared and developed such as swing (Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson), bebop (Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk), mainstream jazz (Duke Ellington), cool jazz (Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck), progressive jazz (Stan Kenton, Gil Evans), hardbop, modal jazz (created by John Coltrane). In the second half of the XX century new styles of jazz enriched the scene like soul jazz (Ray Charles, Charles Mingus), groove jazz, free jazz (based on atonal music by saxophonist Ornette Coleman), fusion (Weather Report), post-bop (Art Blakey).

In the end of XX century new forms of the style emerged such as acid jazz and commercial smooth jazz (Kenny G, Candy Dulfer). Jazz has a number of different forms that depend upon geographical position. For example, Ethiopian jazz (Mulatu Astatke) has the most original sound as well as gypsy jazz-manouche, created by Django Reinhardt, or Latin jazz (Afro-Cuban) represented by the legendary musician Arturo Sandoval and founders of Latin jazz — Brazilian musicians Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Speaking of the history of jazz in the USSR, it can be said that jazz emerged in the early 20s of the XX century. Soviet jazz is always characterized by simplicity and traditionalism because of the political situation in the country. Among contemporary Russian jazz musicians attention should be paid to Даниил Крамер (Daniil Kramer) who gives performances all around the world.

Also read: Jazzstep

Deriative styles: Acid Jazz, Electro Swing, Nu Jazz, Smooth Jazz

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