What is Jazz?

Jazz is widely thought of as the most successful point or "pinnacle" of African American Music. Jazz is distinguished by the originality of its improvisation, the skill and knowledge of the performers and composers, and its artistry.

Styles of Jazz

  • Louis Armstrong
  •  Buddy Bolden
  • Ornette Coleman 
  • John Coltrane 
  • Miles Davis 
  • Duke Ellington
  • Dizzy Gillespie
  • Jelly Roll Morton
  • Charlie Parker
  • Thelonious Monk

Key Jazz Names

Jazz Gets Political

Towards the mid-1950s the growing Civil Rights Movement put pressure on many musicians during this time to play a more significant role in supporting the movements efforts to end Jim Crow Laws. The black community wanted and expected for musicians to display their commitment to the larger cause of racial justice. The jazz community quickly responded to the black community’s plea by engaging in civil rights events, recording albums with political themes, and engaging in conversation about race and racism within the jazz industry.