Jazz has been described as the “classical music of the United States.” Finding its roots in African traditions and folkways surviving through the long years of slavery, and nurtured in the high-energy, melting pot atmosphere of America’s great cities, jazz developed into an unmistakably unique art form. The golden age of jazz took place in the 1930s and 1940s in storied locales like Harlem and Kansas City. This amazing time set the stage for jazz as we know it today, and produced a pantheon of legends, innovators, and “jazz royalty.” Jazz, characterized by its thrilling improvisation and soulful attitude, continues to grow with the times. These Internet resources are great for learning, seeing, and hearing more about this incredible genre and its harmonies and heroes.
Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns: Official website for the PBS documentary on the history of jazz. Includes great informational resources like an interactive map of important jazz clubs, the history of jazz from slavery days to the sixties, dozens of biographies of great jazz musicians, and much more.
Jazz at Lincoln Center: Information and multimedia on jazz performances by modern greats like Wynton Marsalis at the Lincoln Square Center for the Performing Arts in New York.
The Jazz Web: Compendium of high-quality information on a variety of jazz topics, including jazz styles, jazz performers, jazz events and festivals, jazz-related art, and jazz education.
Smithsonian Jazz: Main portal of the Smithsonian Institute’s page for jazz, which it describes as “one of the America’s greatest art forms.” Includes events, exhibits, and unique resources like jazz oral histories and free, interactive jazz “classes.”
Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame: News, downloads, and information on inductees.
The Jazz Journalists Association: An international group of media professionals who join together to share resources and information for developing educational materials promoting jazz.
Twin Cities Jazz Society: News and information from the jazz appreciation society based in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Tucson Jazz Society: Jazz information, events, and photography from the jazz aficionados of Tucson, Arizona.
Jazz Society of Oregon: The JSO sponsors information on the local jazz scene, featured musicians, and a jazz scholarship for students of the musical genre.
International Jazz Cultural Center: A non-profit cultural center in New York for supporting the latest generation of jazz musicians.
Jazz Discography Project: An exhaustive list of jazz musicians and their discographies, including musicians from all eras of jazz. Fully search-able and includes the option to search by record label rather than musician.
Las Vegas Jazz Society: Official website for the 20+ year old jazz appreciation society founded by jazz musician Monk Montgomery for the Las Vegas area. Includes a history of jazz in Las Vegas.
Harlem Jazz Museum: National museum of jazz in Harlem, the birthplace of modern jazz. Awesome news, photographs, and audio, as well as visitors’ information.
Chicago Jazz Archive: Part of the special collections of the University of Chicago. Includes information on the collection as well as links to information of general interest for enthusiasts interested about the history and development of jazz.
Jazz Improvisation: A series of articles all about jazz improvisation developed at the University of Wisconsin for a class in jazz. Discusses jazz rhythm, accent, harmony, melody and more, plus excellent external resources on jazz, the blues, and world music.
Bob Keller’s Jazz Page: A huge table of Internet resources on all aspects of jazz, including resources for jazz musicians.
Rude Interlude: All about the life and work of Duke Ellington.
Kind of Blue: In-depth interview about Kind of Blue, the classic jazz compilation by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.
Louis Armstrong House Museum: Information on visiting the home of the jazz legend in New York City. Includes information on exhibits and permanent collections of the museum.
About John Coltrane: Biography and style information on saxophonist John Coltrane.
Extravagant Crowd: Billie Holiday: Biographical sketch with photos on Billie Holiday, one of the most celebrated women in jazz and a hugely influential jazz vocalist.
The Official Web Site of Ella Fitzgerald: News and information about Ella Fitzgerald, one of the greatest figures in jazz today.
Jazz Profiles from NPR: Includes biographies, interviews, and music from dozens of artists including Coltrane, Davis, Armstrong, Thelonius Monk, Sun Ra, and many more. An excellent site for learning about jazz stars past and present.
30 Greatest Jazz Trumpet Players: Also includes “30 Greatest Saxophonists” and a variety of similar articles discussing the accomplishments, styles, and innovations of jazz musicians.
Jazz Studies Online: Dedicated to showcasing the diversity and innovation of jazz. Includes articles, book excerpts, interviews, performances and a variety of other resources.
Jazz Guitar Central: Lessons in and history of the jazz guitar.
Jazz Organ History: A huge history of the jazz organ.
Jazz Dance: Cross-referenced article on the history of jazz dance.
About Jazz Dance: Jazz dance fact page from the Dancin’ Unlimited dance company.
Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz: Search-able online archive of the classic William P. Gottlieb collection of over 1,600 photographs of jazz musicians and jazz performances from 1938 to 1948.
Information on the History of Jazz: Amazing collection of informative resources for jazz eras, jazz styles, performers, history, and audio.
The Red Hot Jazz Archive: Cross-linked site focused on providing a history of jazz and its pioneers before 1930.
Harlem: Explore Jazz History: Biographical resource giving information on jazz musicians featured in the famous 1958 jazz portrait, including their styles and instruments. Includes info on dozens of jazz performers from the historic photo.
New Orleans Jazz Museum: Exhibit and visitors’ information from the New Orleans Jazz national park in the heart of New Orleans’ French quarter. Also includes information and educational material for adults and kids.
All About Jazz: Includes news, reviews, photos, multimedia and great guides to jazz festivals, radio, venues, and more. Also maintains a comprehensive calendar of upcoming jazz releases.
Club Kaycee: Historical resource on Kansas City jazz during the golden age. Venues, biographies, articles, and sound bytes.
Jazz Age Chicago: All about urban leisure in the city of Chicago from 1893 to 1945. Includes extensive information on jazz venues, historic jazz events, and much more about the city’s culture in this era.
A Jazz Improvisation Primer: A book-length, free resource on jazz styles throughout the years, jazz performance, and the intricacies of jazz improvisation. Written by a professional musician and educator.
Ragtime, Jazz, Swing & Big Band: Information on jazz and some related styles from the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.
Big Band Swing and Jazz from the 1930s and 1940s: Free, down-loadable audio from the Smithsonian Institute’s Folkways project.