Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in black communities in the Southern United States.It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. Its African influence is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation,polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note. From its early development until the present day jazz has also incorporated music from American popular music.
The origin of the actual word is also in doubt. One popular story involves a customer in Chicago who, in a moment of excitement, leapt to his feet and shouted to the band, “Jass it up boys, jass it up.” The story then goes that through a printer’s error jass became jazz and the name stuck. Perhaps the best response to the question “What is Jazz” was provided by “Pops” himself, Louis Armstrong, who when asked that question said “If you don’t know, don’t mess with it.”
Jazz is basically a style of music and has a lot of the same characteristics as other music but also treats the basic elements of music in a unique way. The reason why jazz is so unique is its music interpretation. Any melody can be played in a jazz fashion by putting a feeling of triplets behind the basic beat. In fact, one of the common practices of jazz players is to quote melodies from various sources in their solos, including classical pieces.