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Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime.Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognized as a major form of musical expression in traditional and popular music. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, complex chords, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in European harmony and African rhythmic rituals.
As jazz spread around the world, it drew on national, regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to different styles. New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s, combining earlier brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation. But jazz did not begin as a single musical tradition in New Orleans or elsewhere.In the 1930s, 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 the prominent styles. Bebop emerged in the 1940s, shifting jazz from danceable popular music toward a more challenging “musician’s music” which was played at faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation. Cool jazz developed near the end of the 1940s, introducing calmer, smoother sounds and long, linear melodic lines.
Smooth jazz is a commercially oriented, crossover jazz which came to prominence in the 1980s, displacing the more venturesome jazz fusion from which it emerged. It avoids the improvisational “risk-taking” of jazz fusion, emphasizing melodic form and much of the music was initially “a combination of jazz with easy-listening pop music and lightweight R&B”.
During the mid-1970s in the United States it was known as “smooth radio”, and was not termed “smooth jazz” until the 1980s