Jazz is a type of American music that originated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the Southern United States as a combination of European harmony and forms with African musical elements such as blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note. Jazz has also incorporated elements of American popular music.
As it spread around the world, jazz drew on different national, regional, and local musical cultures, giving rise to many distinctive styles: New Orleans jazz dating from the early 1910s, big band swing, Kansas City jazz and Gypsy jazz from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, Afro-Cuban jazz, West Coast jazz, ska jazz, cool jazz, Indo jazz, avant-garde jazz, soul jazz, modal jazz, chamber jazz, free jazz, Latin jazz, smooth jazz, jazz fusion and jazz rock, jazz funk, loft jazz, punk jazz, acid jazz, ethno jazz, jazz rap, cyber jazz, M-Base and nu jazz.
Louis Armstrong, one of the most famous musicians in jazz, said to Bing Crosby on the latter’s radio show, “Ah, swing, well, we used to call it syncopation, then they called it ragtime, then blues, then jazz. Now, it’s swing. White folks – yo’all sho is a mess!”
In a 1988 interview, trombonist J. J. Johnson said, “Jazz is restless. It won’t stay put and it never will”.
(Wikipedia contributors. “Jazz.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 May. 2014. Web. 16 May. 2014.)