Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms, and improvisation.
Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime. Its immediate origins are difficult to trace because of the lack of written records, but there is evidence that it was a blend of African and European music. The history of jazz is closely tied to the history of race relations in America. Jazz was seen as a threat to the moral order because it was associated with alcohol, gambling, and prostitution. It was also believed to be the music of lower classes, particularly blacks. Despite these negative associations, jazz continued to grow in popularity, eventually becoming one of America’s most iconic musical genres.