As the music has developed and spread around the world it has drawn on many different national, regional and local musical cultures giving rise, since its early 20th century American beginnings, to many different jazz subgenres:
New Orleans jazz began in the 1890′s as brass band performances of gospel songs and marches. With this came along the formation of the big bands, such as the great jazz pianist and bandleader William Basie. This style of jazz still exists today and is normally referred to as the original style of jazz. This style is also considered to be ensemble jazz and is known for its polyphonic texture.
The Chicago Style of jazz music evolved after 1917. Chicago then became the home of jazz music because of the prohibition in the south. Unemployed musicians moved to the Chicago area playing new sounds and searching for places to play the new, exciting style of jazz. With this style the musicians play popular songs with a more homophonic sound. This is the era when the piano is introduced into the background accompaniments.
Bebop came about through and after World War II. It became a fast, but upbeat use of tempos, using elaborate melody and rhythmic patterns. With Bebop, the beat of jazz became lighter. During the later 1940′s, Bebop combined dissonance and abstract chording with traditional jazz. This style showed more emphasis on the solo performer.
Later came the style known as Fusion. This style of jazz subgenres reflects back closer to the jazz tradition. Only now the use of electrical and acoustic instruments gives a more modern sound.