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Jazz definitions: From ragtime to contemporary

Jazz has several different subgenres. Learn about them here.
Posted on June 19, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

Truth Staff

Ÿ Bebop: Jazz that started in the early 1940s and evolved from swing. A group of musicians — Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk — began experimenting with more complex chord patterns and melodic ideas. The style they developed became known as bebop or bop.

Ÿ Classic: Used to describe New Orleans jazz, dixieland, ragtime and Chicago jazz. Includes jazz that developed through World War II.

Ÿ Contemporary: Tends to be characterized by electronic instruments with strong influences of rhythm and blues, rock and world music elements.

Ÿ Dixieland: Originated in New Orleans. Played by a small group of instruments, such as trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano and drums, and marked by a strongly accented four-four rhythm and vigorous quasi-improvisational solos and ensembles.

Ÿ Latin Jazz: Influenced by the rhythmic beats and tempos of the music of Latin America.

Ÿ Mainstream and straight ahead: Hand-clapping, toe-tapping, danceable jazz.

Ÿ Ragtime: An amiable and optimistic type of music with a jaunty, chugging beat mingled with straight march time.

Ÿ Swing and big band: Represents an exceptionally broad area, but for the most part, swing is the jazz sound that evolved from the 1930s through the present.


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