Jazz, being of the African musical heritage, was looked upon with partial despise that later turned out into immense love all across the globe, especially in the American culture. Many of the influential songs that people listen to today are the classic jazz pieces that have aged for the best. Although the genre has been accepted and appreciated widely, not many listeners know of its various types. Jazz has come a long way by growing and falling over the decades. Let us look at the evolution and birth of the various styles of jazz.

Early Jazz

It was in the late 1800s that the earliest form of jazz was created and was then known as “ragtime.” The instruments in the bands of that time were trombone, violin, cornet, drums, clarinet, wind instruments, and double bass. Audiences began falling in love with the syncopated notes and rhythms by the start of the new century.


This is the style of jazz where forward propulsion characterizes every note in the music created. Although it emerged in the 1920s, it was only after 1930 that it became popular after it resurfaced. Swing, also called “Big Band,” is typically performed by a group of 10-15 pieces, but it need not necessarily be such a large ensemble always.



Bebop had a few similarities with Swing but had its distinct space by being more of an art form rather than commercializing the genre with dance music. Soloist improvisation to add nuances to the harmonic structure of the melodies was the whole intention behind creating Bebop tunes.

Hard Bop

Hard Bop came to light in the 1950s as the highly sophisticated version of jazz, where the blue-like melodies and soft drumming with emphatic gospel-like emotion created magic within a few minutes.


This is one of the most unidentifiable styles of jazz that got modernized with time to be the upgraded version of Bop. Post-Bop became popular in 1958 and sustained until 1973.


Cool jazz is a subdued jazz style that became prevalent in the 1940s until 1964. It is one of the understated jazz styles that are both emotionally cool and mentally uplifting. As compared to other styles of jazz such as Swing and Bop, the harmonies and tones of cool were smoothed to be more appealing to the listeners of soft music.



This is the style of jazz that is played without any arrangement or chord progressions, making it one of the best subgenres that have not been derived from Bebop. It emerged in the 1950s and was popular till the 1980s.


Rock, funk, and soul are three modes of music that were combined with jazz to make the fusion style jazz. Unlike any other previous styles, fusion had an excited state of energy to be named as one of the most innovative jazz styles of all time. However, the cross-over was not accepted by the jazz purists.