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Jazz is a genre of music, believed to have originated, developed, or evolved roughly around 1900. It has several key concepts that make it unique as a genre: especially important are the concepts of improvisation and swing. Although jazz bands with several musicians are commonplace, many jazz musicians stress emotional expression and creativity through the music they play. Improvisation, like a fingerprint, tends to be unique to each individual jazz musician, who builds upon the melody or the chords of the melody in a unique way.
Although jazz music has quite a long history, over its history it has become greatly varied, ranging from traditional jazz to free jazz and from swing to bebop and latin jazz. Traditional jazz dominated from the beginning of the music until approximately the 1940s but has remained important in jazz until the present, while the various forms of modern, small-group jazz have been dominant since the late 1940s and 1950s until recent times.
Jazz has been through multiple revolutions as musicians have discovered new ways to improvise and invent phrases. In the 1940s, bebop was a major revolution in jazz, and going into the 1960s, free jazz was another. Jazz has also attempted to blend with other cultural music styles, most notably with the music of Latin America, which resulted in Latin jazz which is now a core element of jazz today.
Going into the 21st century, jazz as a music genre declined in popularity. However, jazz musicians, especially in the United States, are still widespread.
As of 2019, TheTopTens rates the "ten best jazz musicians" in the following order: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, and Norah Jones.