How did jazz start?

8953 how did jazz start

Jazz is a music genre that originated in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a form of music that incorporates a wide range of musical styles, including African American spirituals, blues, ragtime, and European classical music. Jazz is known for its improvisation, swing rhythm, and syncopation.

The roots of jazz can be traced back to the late 19th century in New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans was a melting pot of different cultures, including African Americans, European Americans, and Creoles. These different cultures brought their own musical traditions and styles, which eventually blended together to form jazz.

One of the earliest forms of jazz was ragtime, which emerged in the 1890s. Ragtime was characterized by its syncopated rhythms, which gave it a distinctive feel and made it popular for dancing. Many early jazz musicians, including Jelly Roll Morton and Scott Joplin, were heavily influenced by ragtime.

Another major influence on early jazz was the blues. Blues music originated in the African American communities of the southern United States and was characterized by its simple chord progressions and emotional lyrics. Jazz musicians began incorporating blues elements into their music, which gave jazz a new level of depth and feeling.

As jazz continued to evolve, new styles and subgenres emerged. In the 1920s and 1930s, swing became popular, which emphasized a strong rhythm section and a danceable beat. Big bands, led by musicians such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie, became popular during this time.

Throughout the 20th century, jazz continued to evolve and incorporate new elements. Bebop emerged in the 1940s, which emphasized fast tempos and complex harmonies. Cool jazz emerged in the 1950s, which emphasized a more relaxed and understated sound. Free jazz emerged in the 1960s, which emphasized improvisation and experimentation.

Today, jazz remains a popular and influential genre of music. It continues to evolve and incorporate new elements, while also paying homage to its rich history and traditions.


  • The History of Jazz Music by ThoughtCo
  • Jazz Origins and Innovations by The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
  • The Evolution of Jazz by National Endowment for the Arts