Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th century American popular music. Its West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, call-response, and the swung note.
The word "jazz" (in early years also spelled "jass") began as a West Coast slang term and was first used to refer to music in Chicago at about 1915.
From its beginnings in the early 20th century jazz has spawned a variety of subgenres: New Orleans Dixieland dating from the early 1910s, big band-style swing from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, free jazz and a variety of Latin jazz fusions, such as Afro-Cuban, from the 1950s and 1960s, jazz fusion from the 1970s, acid jazz from the 1980s (which combines funk and hip-hop elements), and nu jazz in the 1990s. As the music has spread around the world it has drawn on local, national, and regional musical cultures, its aesthetics being adapted to its varied environments and giving rise to many distinctive styles.