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The word "jazz" (in early years also spelled "jass") began as a West Coast slang term and was first used to refer to music in Chicago in about 1915.
From its beginnings in the early 20th century jazz has spawned a variety of subgenres: New Orleans Dixieland dating from the early 1910s, big band-style swing from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, a variety of Latin jazz fusions such as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz, free jazz from the 1950s and 1960s, jazz fusion from the 1970s, acid jazz from the 1980s (which added funk and hip-hop influences), and Nujazz in the 1990s. As the music has spread around the world it has drawn on local national and regional musical cultures, its aesthetics being adapted to its varied environments and giving rise to many distinctive styles.
(extract from Wikipedia 2011)