Genres

“Jazz” includes a myriad of genres, and we have them all. Click on any genre to view the tracks in our database, as well as learn more about America’s most important musical art form.

The Blues

Most American popular music is based on the “blues”, a musical form rooted in early African American culture.

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Early Jazz

The jazz that developed before the 1930s, when it became wildly popular, is called “Early Jazz”. It was centered in New Orleans and spread from there throughout North America.

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Swing

Jazz gained mainstream popularity in the 1930s, which continued on into the 40s with the Big Band sound leading the “swing” dance craze to international popularity.

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Latin Jazz

A prominent contemporary genre, “Latin Jazz” has American roots in multi-cultured early New Orleans jazz, being referred to as the “Spanish tinge”.

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Bebop

In the early 1940s, elements of swing were expanded upon by younger musicians and jazz developed its first pure art music with more complex melodies and rhythms more suited to listening than dancing.

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Cool Jazz

During the 1950s, in the wake of bebop’s advance, there came a lighter, more lyrical form primarily developed on the West Coast, known as Cool Jazz.

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Hard Bop

Another school of jazz percolating in the 1950s and 60s was known as “Hard Bop”. It emphasized original compositions over the Standard American Songbook often explored by bebop musicians and had a generally edgier, more aggressive sound.

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Post WW II Big Bands

Following the big band swing era, big bands became a more sophisticated listening experience, using many influences from the bebop schools that had developed simultaneously after WW II.

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The Third Stream

In the 1950s, in an effort to fuse jazz and classical music, a small group of jazz composers began experimenting with fugues, rondos and extended forms. The results were known as The Third Stream.

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Avant Garde

This term (French for “advance group”) was synonymous with the ‘free’ jazz of the 1960s, wherein the performer often spontaneously chose his own musical path rather than use any familiar musical conventions. It was challenging for both performer and listener, opening many new avenues of expression.

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Post Bop

In roughly the 1970s and 80s, jazz musicians who did not cross over into more pop-influenced styles, kept developing bebop-based music that did have outside influences, reflecting less insular and more eclectic musical tastes. Sometimes hiding its bebop roots, this is much of the jazz being played today.

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Bossa Nova/Jazz Samba

The Bossa Nova is a blend of cool jazz with elements of the Brazilian samba. The Jazz Samba reflects a more direct homage to the Brazilian samba, which is part of Brazil’s African heritage.

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Groove/Funk/Soul Jazz

“Groove” includes various styles ranging from the early 60s to present-day Smooth jazz. The defining elements are more bluesy harmonies and a steady back beat, making the music more danceable.

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Jazz Fusion

Fusion is described as the mixing of rock and jazz styles, as opposed to the mixing of soul music with jazz.

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Smooth/Contemporary Jazz

These are industry labels for music that is usually instrumental, expertly produced in studios and is very danceable. Its chief aim is for airplay and parties.

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Vocal Jazz

Jazz with singers, who were really the first jazz musicians - the blues singers - setting the stage for instrumentalists like Louis Armstrong and King Oliver.

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Acid Jazz

A combination of jazz styles combined with hip-hop and breaks that often exists side by side with sampling and looping and live improvisation.

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World Jazz

A combination of ethnic folk music traditions and jazz. This is done sometimes with instrumentation and other times with song form. Also, New Age jazz can be put into this category, as it blends certain folk traditions into the jazz medium.

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Neo-Classic Jazz

The idea of recreating ``classic jazz`` began with the American Jazz Orchestra in the 1980s which was created by critic Gary Giddins and musician John Lewis.

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New Age Jazz

The term literally describes a music for a new age that can, among other things, promote the use of Asian healing arts, the power of meditation and generally an acceptance of mysticism.

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Oddities and Specialties

A grab bag of strange, sometimes funny or silly or just odd things that jazz musicians do.

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