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Jazz is a musical form that originated in the United States in the early 1900s (though its roots extend to West Africa and its reach encircles the globe). It's easily identifiable: blue notes, swing, improvisation and complexity make jazz one of the most distinctive of musical styles, and its longstanding love affair with fashion establishes jazz as the origin of cool.

Though jazz hit its prime in the 20th century, its mastery of mutation makes for a strong influence in all styles of music, and an active musical community. New Orleans remains one of the world's top jazz destinations, and Brazil's classic jazz still highly popular even after decades. There are also great great jazz blogs out there. JazzVideoGuy is dedicated to documenting jazz's history and influence, even as new jazz videos surface every day.

And let's not forget the Utah Jazz, representing jazz's influence all the way to the NBA.

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About Jessica Reeder