If inventing were a style of music, it would be jazz. Jazz, like inventing, is characterized by a trailblazing spirit, creativity and the ability to improvise. In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, InventHelp shares a brief history of jazz.

Part of what makes jazz exciting is that the same piece of music can sound different every time it's played. Unlike classical forms of music, which are supposed to be played exactly as they were written, the goal of jazz is for musicians to improvise. Like many inventors, jazz musicians take what already exists and add their own flair to create a new product that is unique and personal.

Jazz Appreciation Month 2007 PosterJazz has its roots in African folk music and plantation spirituals. Blues, a style of music with a melancholy feel and lyrics expressing worry and depression, developed in the late 1800s. Early blues musicians played off one another in a call-and-response pattern, and improvisations were prominent in the music and lyrics.

Another early jazz predecessor, Ragtime, was invented in the 1920s. Ragtime's jaunty rhythms and whimsical feel were perfect for the piano, an instrument whose rich invention history deserves an article of its own.

Dixieland style jazz was invented in New Orleans and spread quickly to other parts of the nation, including Chicago and New York City. The style combined brass band marches, ragtime, blues and improvisation. The main instrument, usually the trumpet, played a melody that the other front line instruments improvised around, creating a chaotic, exciting sound.

The 1930s brought the invention of Swing, and Big Bands became the norm. Swing is a danceable style of music, which created an instant connection with large, mainstream audiences.

Jazz's popularity waned in the 1940s when Bebop (or simply Bop) was invented. While the compositions of Swing music were generally straightforward and crowd-pleasing, Bebop was dramatically different. The music's intricate melodies, complex harmonies and fragmented organization jarred the ears of the general public.

Although jazz's popularity never again reached the heights of the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 1930s, new styles of jazz continued to be invented. Today, jazz's influence can be seen in styles like hip-hop and rock.

Jazz great Louis Armstrong said, "If you have to ask what Jazz is, you'll never know." In the spirit of originality and innovation, InventHelp salutes avant-garde jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and countless other artists who dared to defy definition.

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