Jazz music originated in the United States. It was created by African Americans in the early 1900s. The sound of jazz was influenced by West African rhythms and music, and American folk music. A typical jazz band contains some combination of drums, piano, guitar, bass, and wind instruments such as trombones, saxophones, and trumpets.
Today, jazz music is played in many different ways. But most forms of jazz share the use of rhythm and improvisation. Improvisation means "to invent." In jazz, musicians "invent" new melodies and rhythms while they are performing!
In 1922, the King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band featured some of the most famous jazz musicians in history. Members of the band such as trumpet player Joe "King" Oliver (rear) and cornet player Louis Armstrong (center) inspire jazz musicians to this day!
Photo courtesy of National Park Service