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Louis Armstrong (1901-1971).

Top 60 Best Jazz Artists, Clubs, Events and Festivals

Artists (Top 50) Jazz Festivals (Top 10)

JAZZ is a genre of music that originated in African-American communities during the late 19th and early 20th century. Jazz emerged in many parts of the United States of independent popular musical styles; linked by the common bonds of European American and African-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz spans a range of music from ragtime to the present day—a period of over 100 years—and has proved to be very difficult to define. Jazz makes heavy use of improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note, as well as aspects of European harmony, American popular music, the brass band tradition, and African musical elements such as blue notes and ragtime. A musical group that plays jazz is called a jazz band.

As jazz spread around the world, it drew on different national, regional, and local musical cultures, giving rise to many distinctive styles. New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s, and it combined earlier brass band marches, French Quadrilles, biguine, ragtime, and blues with collective, polyphonic improvisation. Heavily arranged dance-oriented Swing big bands, Kansas City jazz, a hard-swinging, bluesy, improvisational style and Gypsy jazz, a style that emphasized Musette waltzes, were important styles in the 1930s. Bebop emerged in the 1940s; it shifted jazz from danceable popular music towards a more challenging "musician's music" which was played at faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation. Cool jazz developed in the end of the 1940s, introducing calmer, smoother sounds and long, linear melodic lines. Free jazz from the 1950s explored playing without regular meter, beat and formal structures.

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