Modern jazz: what is popular today?

Jazz today remains a music that is undergoing significant transformation. The best work of this genre is now a miracle with different guises. Traditions from the long roots of jazz as a whole phenomenon coexist with modern pop melodies, and avant-garde highlights sparkle brightly in compositions that are fluid and free from frames. Whatever the critics say, jazz now is not at all a battlefield between the ancient keepers of museum treasures and unbridled experimentalists in their aspirations. Many artists seek to create bridges between past and present by improvising, reimagining and transforming jazz into the music we know today.

Main trends

Some trends are especially revealing when looking at entire lists of top jazz performers, both bands and soloists. For example, some bands are moving away from over-innovation, turning to more “safe” material in terms of commercial success and audience habits. Also, an increasing number of performers are striving for instrumental performance.

It cannot be said that now there are absolutely no worthwhile vocals (take at least Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Christina Aglints and others), but there are much more virtuoso instrumentalists. A positive moment can be recognized as wonderful compositions presented by various trios, especially pianists. It seems that the coolest jazz you can expect from the masters of all…instruments: piano, guitar, drums, trumpet, tenor and alto saxophones – combinations of instruments continue to do the impossible. Many jazz performers experiment with folk melodies and ethnic instruments.

What is modern jazz aiming for?

Jazz music has always been distinguished by a superior number of American performers, which was justified by history; at the same time, the Europeans made up the majority of the gratefully listening audience, and the European jazzmen continued the American traditions. But with the end of the 20th century, everything changed: Scandinavian and French performers felt how outdated the sound of American jazz was and decided to make their own musical adjustments. Returning to the roots of jazz as dance music, artists combine elements of techno, drum and bass, soul, rock and pop with acoustic and electronic sounds to create a unique 21st century jazz.