Jazz is a Black American original genre and a piece of this country's history that has brought joy to everyone, black or white or hispanic or asian, etc. Whether we call it Jazz or call it Black American Music (BAM), it roots are certainly to be found in the black population of New Orleans, in slave songs and the blues, in gospel music and chants, and in music taken from old African traditions. Once it caught on, it spread like wildfire, up to Kansas City and Chicago, and eventually across all of the United States. It became the music of our nation, and of our people, both black and white.
Today jazz is everywhere, after being exported to Europe by expatriates like Dexter Gordon and Duke Jordan or by visiting players like Chet Baker or Dizzy Gillespie, and eventually exported across the globe. Today jazz is heard everywhere, and the influences on jazz come from everywhere, bringing in the traditions of countries and peoples across the globe, be they the sounds from Indian music incorporated by Vijay Iyer and others; the joyous dances of Latin America that influenced Dizzy Gillespie early on and today play a major role in so much of what we hear from players like Luis Perdomo, Miguel Zenon, Antonio Sanchez and on and on; the middle eastern sounds of the Oud as played by Rahib Abou-Khalil and others; and so on. Clearly one could go on forever, talking about the characteristic sounds of the Scandanavian jazz played by Jan Gabarek or Tomas Stanko or Bobo Stenson; Israeli jazz played by the Cohen family and so many others, often located now in Brooklyn; or the beautiful melodic tones of Italians like Enrico Rava, Enrico Pierannunzi, and Gianni Basso. It is still Black American Music in its roots, but it is now everyone's across the globe to play, stretch, and enjoy.