Folk jazz is a broad term for music that pairs traditional folk music with elements of jazz, usually featuring richly texturized songs.
Origins of folk jazz can be traced back to the fifties, when artists like Jimmy Giuffre and Tony Scott pursued distinct approaches to folk music production, initially, as a vehicle for soloist expression, and its apex is usually referenced as happening during the middle and latter parts of the sixties (a background it shares with other contemporary hybrid genres, such as psychedelic folk), when some already established folk musicians incorporated diverse musical traditions into their works, and many already popular musical styles underwent a process of massive diversification as many counter-culture-related bands embraced a spirit of free experimentation and inclusiveness reflected in their works each time more frequently (a trend that, after becoming widespread, would be continued in the following decade). For instance, Bob Dylan's 1966 double album Blonde on Blonde's starting track, "Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35", blends various Americana traditions with a jazzy rhythm. In 1968, Van Morrison released the influent Astral Weeks, a mixture of folk, jazz, blues, soul and classical music. In 1969, Tim Buckley released Happy Sad, an album in which he hinted at his early jazz influences – most notably Miles Davis – by infusing his folk-based songs with a non-traditional jazz timbre (a decision that negatively impacted his sales figures by alienating him from his audience).Pentangle's album from that same year, Basket of Light, too, exhibited a certain degree of folk jazz experimentation, amidst other releases from that time, the majority of which were not as commercially successful. Further developments occurred during the seventies, as evidenced in albums like Nick Drake's Bryter Layter, Joni Mitchell's Hejira, and various works originating in the progressive rock and folk rock scenes, which continued the exploration of this genre.