Although not yet a century old, jazz has passed through so many changes that admirers of one face of it frequently fail to recognize the others as relatives, Yet from rugged, ironic blues to breathtaking turn-on-a-dime swing orchestras, from romantic balladeers to willful free improvisers, from its roots in the American South to branches in Rio, Cape Town , Paris, and even Melbourne, jazz has been the modern world’s soundtrack of surprise, spontaneity, honesty and strength.

Jazz has ground up alongside dance crazes, the movies, record industry, and worldwide radio broadcasting — and it has changed forever the way we hear tonality and rhythm. Although often sidelined by establishment arts, the history of jazz and blues is the hottest story in 20th -century music.