Jazz is a music genre that originated from African American communities of New Orleans in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African American and European American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz spans a period of over a hundred years, encompassing a very wide range of music, making it difficult to define.

Jazz is not the result of choosing a tune, but an ideal that is created first in the mind, inspired by ones passion and willed next in playing music. Jazz music is a language, sometimes intimate, often boisterous, but always layered with experience and life profoundly lived. Jazz is not found in websites or books or even written down in sheet music.

Throughout one hundred years of jazz history there has been continuous debate among artists, critics, educators and aficionados about the definition of jazz. A central problem of the debate is a lack of agreement about the essential components of jazz, since its musicians, vocabulary, and inspirations continually change over time. The goal of this debate is to reach an objective definition of jazz by identifying its essential musical traits.