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What is Jazz Music?

Everyone loves the music, but not everyone knows what “jazz” means…

Early jazzmen said “to jazz” was to fornicate, while a “jazzbow” was considered to mean a lover of the ladies. Many literary scholars argue that the term “jazz” originated in the jargon of Chaucer and Shakespeare. While musician and songwriter Clarence Williams takes credit for the term by declaring that he was the first to ever use the word “jazz” in a song.

Referred to as “America’s classical music,” jazz is one of North America’s oldest and most celebrated musical genres.

The history of jazz can be traced back to the Unites States in the early part of the 20th century. From Ragtime and Blues to Big Band and Bebop, jazz has been a part of a proud African American tradition for over 100 years.

A strong rhythmic under-structure, blue notes, solos, “call-and response” patterns, and improvisation of melody all characterize jazz music. Throughout the history of jazz, these characteristics have worked together in establishing an inventive style and musical genius.

Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday are examples of some of the most celebrated jazz musicians of America’s past. These and many other famed musicians throughout the history of jazz have not only inspired modern musicians, but have also instilled modern music lovers with an appreciation for musical history.

The history of jazz has its roots firmly planted in the American cities of New Orleans, Chicago, and New York City. And the musical tradition within these cities still lives on today. See a detailed listing of the most prominent jazz clubs within these renowned jazz cities.

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