Modern Jazz

Since the 1960s, jazz has been increasingly combined with other music styles and split off into many different subgenres. We can only introduce a few important ones here.


This style first appeared in the late 1960s, and combined jazz harmonies and improvisation, with the rhythms of rock, funk and rhythm and blues. Electric Instruments and amplifiers were used in this new style, but also brass and woodwind instruments, which were the commonly used jazz instruments.

Smooth Jazz

Smooth jazz developed during the 1970s and became successful in the early 1980s. It emerged from a blend of jazz fusion and pop music, and had an easy listening pop-feel, with hardly any jazz improvisation, and was much more playable on radio stations, as opposed to previous jazz genres. Typical instruments were saxophone, guitar and synthesiser. The style was not popular with fans of traditional jazz.

Latin Jazz

Latin jazz is a blend of jazz with Latin-American rhythms. Its two main subgenres are Afro-Cuban jazz, which is based on Cuban popular dance music, and Afro-Brazilian Jazz, which includes bossa nova and jazz samba.

Acid Jazz

Acid jazz combines jazz with elements of soul, funk, hip-hop and disco. It originated in the London club scene of the 1980s and spread from there to the US, Brazil, Germany, Eastern Europe and Japan. The main characteristics of the style are danceable grooves and long, repetitive compositions.


The term M-Base refers to a style of jazz that emerged out of a loose collective of young American musicians in Brooklyn in the 1980s. M-Base (short for “macro-basic array of structured extemporisation”) denotes not so much a style, as a way of thinking about creating music. The musicians of the M-Base movement called these ideas the M-Base-Concept. M-Base was focussed around Steve Coleman, who explained the elements of the concept as growth through creativity and philosophical broadening, contemporary relevance, use of non-western concepts and music as an expression of life experience.