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List of jazz genres

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a list of subgenres of jazz music.


Genre Characteristics Era
Acid jazz[1][2] Combined elements of soul music, funk, disco, including looping beats and modal harmony 1980s–1990s
Afro-Cuban jazz It mixes Afro-Cuban clave-based rhythms with jazz harmonies and techniques of improvisation. 1940s ->
Avant-garde jazz A style of music and improvisation that combines avant-garde art music and composition with jazz. It originated in the 1950s and developed through the 1960s. 1950s ->
Bebop Bebop or bop is a style of jazz characterized by a fast tempo, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure and occasional references to the melody. 1940s ->
Big band 1910s ->
British dance band British dance band is a genre of popular jazz and dance music that developed in British dance halls and hotel ballrooms during the 1920s and 1930s. 1920s ->
Cape jazz Cape jazz (more often written Cape Jazz) is a genre of jazz that is performed in the southernmost part of Africa, the name being a reference to Cape Town, South Africa. 1990s ->
Chamber jazz Chamber jazz is a genre of jazz involving small, acoustic-based ensembles where group interplay is important. 1960s ->
Continental jazz Early jazz dance bands of Europe in the swing medium, to the exclusion of Great Britain.
Cool jazz Contrasts with the hard, fast sound of bebop. A more relaxed, subdued style, with more formal arrangements and elements of swing and classical. 1940s–1960s
Crossover jazz Artists mix different styles of music into jazz. 1970s ->
Dixieland Dixieland music or New Orleans jazz, sometimes referred to as hot jazz or early jazz, is a style of jazz music which developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century. Stylistically it is essentially a form of Ragtime, typically transposed for brass band, banjo and/or clarinet. 1900s ->
Electro Swing[3] Modern interpretation of Swing merged with EDM. Performances typically include both a live band and a DJ. 1990s ->
Ethio-jazz A specific form of jazz that evolved in Ethiopia in the likes of the music of Mulatu Astatke, also referred to as the King of Ethio-jazz. 1950s ->
Ethno jazz Ethno jazz, a form of ethno music, is sometimes equaled to world music or is regarded as its successor, particularly before the 1990s. An independent meaning of "ethno jazz" emerged around 1990. 1990s ->
European free jazz European free jazz is a part of the global free jazz scene with its own development and characteristics. 1960s ->
Flamenco jazz 1960s ->
Free funk A combination of avant-garde jazz with funk music 1970s ->
Free jazz Free improvisation is improvised music without any specific rules. By itself, free improvisation can be any genre, it isn't necessarily jazz. Free jazz musicians make use of free improvisation to alter, extend, or break down jazz convention, often by discarding fixed chord changes, tempos, melodies, or phrases. Ornette Coleman was an early and noted advocate of this style. 1950s ->
Gypsy jazz A style of jazz music often said to have been started by guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt in the 1930s. The style was originally called "hot club" or "hot jazz" and served an acoustic European interpretation of swing. The term "gypsy jazz" didn't appear until after the 1970s, when Sinti people adapted their folk music to emulate that of Django's. 1930s/1970s->
Hard bop Incorporated influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues, especially in saxophone and piano playing. 1950s ->
Indo jazz Fusion of jazz with Indian music (see also Sitar in jazz and Jazz in India). 1950s ->
Jazz blues Although not a distinct style, this is typically used to refer to songs that include idiomatic "jazz" embellishments to the standard form, such as the use of extended harmony and chord substitutions. At a minimum, jazz blues usually include a ii–V progression in place of the simple V chord and a I–VI/vi–ii–V turnaround at the end of the form.
Jazz-funk Jazz-funk is a subgenre of jazz music characterized by a strong back beat (groove), electrified sounds, and an early prevalence of analog synthesizers. 1970s ->
Jazz fusion Combines elements of jazz and rock. Characterized by electronic instruments, riffs, and extended solos. 1970s ->
Jazz poetry 1920s ->
Jazz pop
Jazz rap Jazz rap is a fusion subgenre of hip hop music and jazz, developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The lyrics are often based on political consciousness, Afrocentrism, and general positivism. 1980s ->
Jazz rock The term "jazz-rock" (or "jazz/rock") is often used as a synonym for the term "jazz fusion". 1960s ->
Jump blues 1930s ->
Kansas City jazz Kansas City jazz is a style of jazz that developed in Kansas City, Missouri and the surrounding Kansas City Metropolitan Area during the 1930s 1930s ->
Latin jazz Draws heavily on salsa and merengue influences. Heavy use of percussion, including congas, timbales, bongos, guiros, and others.
M-Base 1980s ->
Marabi 1920s–1930s
Mainstream jazz A genre of jazz music that was first used in reference to the playing styles around the 1950s 1950s ->
Modal jazz Pioneered by Miles Davis, others. Characterized by use of modes, such as dorian modes.
Neo-bop jazz A comparatively accessible, "retro" genre that emerged in the 1980s as a stylistic reaction against free jazz and jazz fusion. Notably associated with Wynton Marsalis. 1980s ->
Neo-swing The name given to the renewed interest in swing music from the 1930s and 40s. Many neo-swing bands practiced contemporary fusions of swing, jazz, and jump blues with rock, punk rock, ska, and ska punk music or had roots in punk, ska, ska punk, and alternative rock music. 1990s ->
Jazz noir[4] A form of slow or erratic contemporary jazz. Jazz noir (also known as "doom jazz" or "dark jazz") is noted for its often somber, mysterious or even sinister tone. It takes inspiration from film noir soundtracks and dark ambient music.[4] 1990s ->
Nu jazz[5] Music that blends jazz elements with other musical styles, such as funk, soul, electronic dance music, and free improvisation. 1990s ->
Orchestral jazz Also known as "Symphonic Jazz" 1920s ->
Post-bop A genre of small-combo jazz that assimilates hard bop, modal jazz, avant-garde and free jazz without necessarily being immediately identifiable as any of those forms 1960s ->
Punk jazz The amalgamation of elements of the jazz tradition (usually free jazz and jazz fusion of the 1960s and 1970s) with the instrumentation or conceptual heritage of punk rock 1970s ->
Ragtime 1890s ->
Samba-jazz 1950s ->
Ska jazz Music derived by fusing the melodic content of jazz with the rhythmic and harmonic content of early Jamaican Music introduced by the "Fathers of Ska" in the late 1950s. It is sometimes considered a subgenre of Third-Wave Ska. 1960s ->
Skiffle 1950s ->
Smooth jazz In general a smooth jazz track is downtempo (the most widely played tracks are in the 90–105 BPM range), layering a lead, melody-playing instrument (saxophones – especially soprano and tenor – are the most popular, with guitars a close second) over a backdrop that typically consists of programmed rhythms and various synth pads and/or samples. 1960s ->
Soul jazz Draws heavy influences from hard bop, blues, gospel, and rhythm and blues. It is often characterized by organ trios. 1950s ->
Spiritual jazz 1960s ->
Straight-ahead jazz A form of Jazz created in the 1960s with roots from the previous two decades. It omits elements from rock music and free jazz that began to appear in this period, instead putting more emphasis on acoustic instruments and a more conventional sound. 1960s ->
Stride jazz A style of jazz piano which incorporates left hand techniques from ragtime music, except the left hand spans a greater distance on the keyboard. 1920s ->
Swing Big band arrangements, always swung. Pioneered by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Benny Goodman. 1930s–1950s
Third stream The fusion of the jazz stream and classical stream. 1950s ->
Trad jazz Short for "traditional jazz", refers to the Dixieland and ragtime jazz styles of the early 20th century
West Coast jazz A less frenetic, calmer style than hard bop, heavily arranged, and more often compositionally based subgenre of cool jazz. 1950s–60s


  1. ^ Cook, Richard (2005). Richard Cook's Jazz Encyclopedia. London: Penguin. p. 2. ISBN 0-141-00646-3.
  2. ^ "Acid jazz (genre)". Grove Music Online. 2001. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.53045. ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Electro-swing - Tonight we're going to party like it's 1929". The Independent. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2023.
  4. ^ a b Hart, John (February 20, 2021). ""And then — she walked in" Jazz Noir, Industrial Jazz, and How Music Tells a Story". Medium.
  5. ^ Jazztronica: A Brief History of the Future of Jazz at the Wayback Machine (archived 2022-07-06)