What Is Contemporary Jazz?

Contemporary jazz, a blend of jazz fusion and avant-garde jazz, has a huge following of avid listeners, and you might want to become one of them. 

With its roots in traditional jazz and its origins steeped in twentieth-century musical lore, contemporary jazz has evolved into something entirely unique in the modern age. Continue reading to learn about contemporary jazz, including a few songs worth adding to your playlist. 

Listen to the best jazz music

What Exactly Is Contemporary Jazz? 

Contemporary jazz is an umbrella term that refers to various new types of jazz music produced and recorded since the late twentieth century and into the early twenty-first century. While contemporary jazz’s roots lie in traditional jazz, contemporary jazz has long since grown and sprouted into its own new forms of jazz music. 

Read more: What Are Three of the Best Sexy Jazz Songs?

What Characteristics Define Contemporary Jazz? 

Three main characteristics easily define contemporary jazz. Have a look at them below to learn how to identify contemporary jazz music:

  • Diversity: Contemporary jazz is performed by artists of all races and gender identities. Although most consider it a Black American genre of music, it’s become a genre that transcends race, age, and gender. 
  • Melody: It has a unique sound that no other jazz music has managed to replicate. The music focuses on the melody and allows artists to express themselves beyond the limitations of the chords in new ways.
  • Crossover: The most obvious characteristic is the crossover between modern and smooth jazz genres. If a song sounds like jazz with a twist, it is likely contemporary jazz!

Who Are a Few Notable Contemporary Jazz Artists? 

If you are looking to check out some artists that are making waves in the contemporary jazz music industry, check out these interesting contemporary jazz songs and artists: 

Sharon Marie Cline

Sharon Marie Cline’s contemporary jazz music easily invokes a feeling of romance. Her distinctive voice will have you lost in the moment. She is a soulful jazz musician with a unique voice that keeps her fans wanting more. 

So, if you lean toward romantic ballads and want to try listening to contemporary jazz, she’s the artist to add to your playlist.

Read more: Jazz Night Songs: Three of the Best Relaxing Jazz Songs to Play in the Evening

Kenny G

After winning a world record for the longest to hold a note in 1977 (45 minutes and 47 seconds), it would be a crime not to recommend Kenny G. Not only is he a musician but also a composer who plays the saxophone. In the jazz community, his music greatly influences many contemporary artists. 

Boney James

Boney James is a great contemporary jazz artist to play when you’re in the mood for easy listening. He has been in the jazz game for over thirty years, is a four-time nominee for a Grammy Award, and won a Soul Train Award. Every song he produces is magic. 

Wrap-Up on Contemporary Jazz

The contemporary jazz industry is always evolving, giving artists room to flourish within it. If you’re new to jazz, it is a good place to start experimenting with what you might like and dislike. So give artists like Sharon Marie Cline a chance — they might surprise you.

FAQs: Contemporary Jazz – A Blend of Styles

1. What is contemporary jazz and how did it develop?

Contemporary jazz emerged after the swing era, starting in the 1950s. It evolved from bebop and cool jazz, incorporating elements of rock, funk, R&B, and even electronic music.

2. What are the key features of contemporary jazz?

  • Improvisation: Like traditional jazz, soloists have the freedom to create melodies and explore musical ideas.
  • Genre-bending influences: The mix of influences like rock and funk creates a unique and dynamic sound.
  • Focus on groove and rhythm: Strong basslines and catchy rhythms are prominent features.
  • Electric instruments: Keyboards, electric guitars, and even synthesizers are commonly used.

3. How does contemporary jazz differ from traditional jazz?

Contemporary jazz focuses more on groove and rhythm alongside improvisation, often utilizing electric instruments for a fresh sound. Traditional jazz relies primarily on acoustic instruments and prioritizes melody during improvisation.pen_sparktunesharemore_vert

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