Jazz is a music genre that originated amongst African Americans in New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in Blues and Ragtime. Since the 1920s jazz age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African American and European American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation.
A broader definition that encompasses all of the radically different eras of jazz has been proposed by Travis Jackson: “it is music that includes qualities such as swing, improvising, group interaction, developing an ‘individual voice’, and being open to different musical possibilities”. Krin Gibbard has provided an overview of the discussion on definitions, arguing that “jazz is a construct” that, while artificial, still is useful to designate “a number of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent tradition”
Smooth jazz is a popular genre of music that grew out of jazz and is influenced by rhythm and blues, funk, rock and roll, and pop music styles (separately, or, in any combination). Musicians such as Kenny G, Ramsey Lewis, Dave Koz, and Spyro Gyra have had hits with instrumental recordings, while singers such as Anita Baker, Sade, Sting and Norah Jones have found success with vocal releases. George Benson remains a popular Smooth Jazz artist as both a singer and guitar player.
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