Louis Armstrong
Kind of Blue
Duke Ellington
Miles Davis

Jazz

Jazz has been called America's classical music, and for good reason. Along with the blues, its forefather, it is one of the first truly indigenous musics to develop in America, yet its unpredictable, risky ventures into improvisation gave it critical cache with scholars that the blues lacked. At the outset, jazz was dance music, performed by swinging big bands. Soon, the dance elements faded into the background and improvisation became the key element of the music. As the genre evolved, the music split into a number of different styles, from the speedy, hard-hitting rhythms of be-bop and the laid-back, mellow harmonies of cool jazz to the jittery, atonal forays of free jazz and the earthy grooves of soul jazz. What tied it all together was a foundation in the blues, a reliance on group interplay and unpredictable improvisation. Throughout the years, and in all the different styles, those are the qualities that defined jazz.

Jazz Artists Highlights grid list

Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Anthony Braxton
Anthony Braxton
Tommy Dorsey
Tommy Dorsey
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Milt Jackson
Milt Jackson
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Stan Kenton
Stan Kenton
Louis Jordan
Louis Jordan
Lester Young
Lester Young
Horace Silver
Horace Silver
Art Blakey
Art Blakey
Dave Brubeck
Dave Brubeck
Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson
Count Basie
Count Basie
Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
Stan Getz
Stan Getz
Buddy Rich
Buddy Rich
Cannonball Adderley
Cannonball Adderley
Kid Ory
Kid Ory
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
The Modern Jazz Quartet
The Modern Jazz Quartet
Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan
Jackie McLean
Jackie McLean
Jimmy Dorsey
Jimmy Dorsey
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Grant Green
Grant Green
Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
Return to Forever
Return to Forever
Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon
Sarah Vaughan
Sarah Vaughan
Lonnie Johnson
Lonnie Johnson
Dinah Washington
Dinah Washington
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Grover Washington, Jr.
Grover Washington, Jr.
Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald
Coleman Hawkins
Coleman Hawkins

Jazz subgenres and styles [+]