There is no denying that jazz is one of the most important musical genres that exist. It was brought to life in the form of independent traditional music and popular musical styles which originated from African American communities in the U.S. Jazz has been around for more than a hundred years and it has no doubt shifted shapes many times.
Today, we will provide a brief history and evolution of jazz music from the early 20th century to the modern day.

1900 – 1910

During this decade, jazz is its still on its infancy. Jazz icons like Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke were born in 1901 and 1903, respectively. These jazz musicians were mostly exposed to ragtime and blues music. Pianist Jelly Roll Morton helped bring the style into the limelight by performing in brothels in New Orleans. In just a matter of years, jazz began capturing everyone’s attention.

1910 – 1920

This is the decade when the seeds of jazz began to take root. New Orleans became a home to number of budding musicians like Louis Armstrong. The first jazz recording ever made was in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

1920 – 1930

This decade marked many of the important events in jazz music. The audience for jazz was rapidly growing. New Orleans began to lose its centrality in jazz as more and more musicians moved to New York and Chicago. Big bands led by Earl Hines, Fletcher Henderson, and Duke Ellington became a hit with its bombastic arrangements.

1930 – 1940

Despite the Great Depression that has befallen the nation, jazz music remained resilient. Many patrons filled the dance halls while dancing to jitterbug music which will eventually be called swing. Tenor saxophone musicians like Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Ben Webster became responsible for the instrument to be strongly identified with jazz. By the end of 1930s, swing has completely taken over.

1940 – 1950

This decade marked the creation of bebop. On August 1942, the big band scene has fallen because no one can record. On top of that, America’s involvement in the World War II marked the decline of big band. By the end of 1940s, bebop became an ideal among young jazz musicians.


Musicians like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane were at the height of their career. On March 1955, Charlie Parker died due to drug-related illnesses. Bebop managed to stay alive. Many jazz legends like Clifford Brown, Lester Young and Billie Holiday passed away during this decade.


In modern times, jazz continues to evolve and adopt its tradition of constantly changing. Notable jazz modern musicians include Esperanza Spalding, Gregory Porter and Tivon Pennicott.