Jazz took its modern look in the United States in the later part of 19th century and early 20th century when Black musicians there begin playing European music in their own style. Therefore, no single person can be said to have invented jazz. Jazz is often called the classical music of the United States. It was a cultural phenomenon. But there is a musician and a song writer, Clarence Williams, who claims to have invented the term jazz. Critics argue that the term ‘jazz’ originated in the jargon of English poet and play-write Chaucer and Shakespeare respectively.
The jazz originated when the slaves brought from Africa sang songs, told stories, shared grief and happiness etc in the 18th century. The singer would often call out a line and the rest of the folk would respond to that. These were the beginnings of jazz. In the following century, a lot of Europeans immigrated to the United States, each bringing their own unique musical tradition. An African-American composer, Scott Joplin, combined the European style with the music of the African community. This new genre was then called ‘ragtime’.
In the early 20th century, the ‘ragtime’ started getting popular as more and more black musicians and singers came to sing. In the 1930s a new style of jazz emerged with its highly energetic beats and swing music. The changes continued and the next big impression was left by the Civil Rights Movement of Martin Luther King in the 1960s. The jazz continued to evolve and now we have retro jazz, smooth jazz and other versions.