As jazz spread around the world, it drew on different national, regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to many distinctive styles.New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s, combining earlier brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation.A broader definition that encompasses 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".In contrast to commentators who have argued for excluding types of jazz, the musicians themselves are sometimes reluctant to define the music they play.
Since the emergence of bebop, forms of jazz that are commercially oriented or influenced by popular music have been criticized.In many forms of jazz, a soloist is supported by a rhythm section of one or more chordal instruments (piano, guitar), double bass, and drums.The rhythm section plays chords and rhythms that outline the song structure and complement the soloist.It was spelled 'J-A-S-S.' That was dirty, and if you knew what it was, you wouldn't say it in front of ladies." The American Dialect Society named it the Word of the Twentieth Century.Jazz has proved to be very difficult to define, since it encompasses a wide range of music spanning a period of over 100 years, from ragtime to the 2010-era rock-infused fusion.The question of the origin of the word jazz has resulted in considerable research, and its history is well documented.It is believed to be related to jasm, a slang term dating back to 1860 meaning "pep, energy." The earliest written record of the word is in a 1912 article in the Los Angeles Times in which a minor league baseball pitcher described a pitch which he called a jazz ball "because it wobbles and you simply can't do anything with it." In an interview with NPR, musician Eubie Blake offered his recollections of the original slang connotations of the term, saying: "When Broadway picked it up, they called it 'J-A-Z-Z.' It wasn't called that.Although the foundation of jazz is deeply rooted within the black experience of the United States, different cultures have contributed their own experience and styles to the art form as well.Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".In the swing era of the 1920s–'40s, big bands relied more on arrangements which were written or learned by ear and memorized. In the bebop era of the 1940s, big bands gave way to small groups and minimal arrangements in which the melody was stated briefly at the beginning and most of the song was improvised.Modal jazz abandoned chord progressions to allow musicians to improvise even more.