Jazz Music has continuously developed since its birth just before the turn of the twentieth century. Our Trustees board have put together (what they consider) ten essential jazz tracks for every one of the music’s decade starting from the 1920s to help acquaint newcomers to the rich heritage of the music and on a single page give a taste of what jazz music is all about. We have put a sample of the 1920s playlist on the page to get you started followed by button links to each decade.

As this list is purely introductory it is possible that your favourite Jazz musician is not listed within these playlists. Choosing 10 tracks for each decade is a difficult task showing: popular records, great examples of musicianship and that we consider a diverse range of artists and sub-genres. 

We have plenty more playlists available over on our Spotify profile and aim to release more on a regular basis. Ensure to follow our page whilst you are there to get all the latest updates.

We hope you enjoy listening to our selection.

  • 1920's Jazz

    1920 ushered in the decade of prohibition in America, and the decade which saw the roots of jazz spread from New Orleans in the south to Chicago in the north and throughout America from the West Coast to New York.

  • 1930's Jazz

    Ten of the iconic tracks which typify the age of swing; the joie-de-vivre of its legendary performers and composers and regularly feature the pre-war repertoire which produced many American standards.

  • 1940's Jazz

    The 1940s was the decade of bebop, a revolutionary and restless music pioneered by modernists such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. This music grew from the musical roots established in the preceding years.

  • 1950's Jazz

    The 1950s saw different styles of jazz evolve, the distillation of the bebop influence into cool jazz, and the emergence of hard bop. The big bands reached new levels of sophistication, and jazz soloists recorded albums in an orchestral setting.

  • 1960's Jazz

    The decade when modern jazz created its own revolutions and - later in the decade met the oncoming cultural tsunami of rock and roll.

  • 1970's Jazz

    As the founding fathers of jazz music left us new talents arrived both to develop the music and celebrate its established traditions.

  • 1980's Jazz

    The 1980s saw different influences in the jazz world; musicians playing original material, those working more within the tradition, and sounds from the pop and world music spheres shaping the music. 

  • 1990's Jazz

    Jazz in the 90s saw a continuing broadening of influences shaping the music; new artists experimenting with the sounds of hip hop and blues, artists reworking standards as well as composing new material, and artists continuing to work within the tradition. 

  • 2000's Jazz

    The 21 Century kicks off to a great start with this eclectic decade of music from across the globe. 

  • 2010's Jazz

    An eclectic mix of sounds through Jazz's recent era of resurgence.


The Jazz Centre (UK) 

Beecroft Art Gallery

Victoria Ave



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