Jazz has always continued to evolve, even during the 20th century’s early stages, when it was first established in New Orleans’ bordellos. The music has always been fueled by the innovators of today, as well as the young jazz musicians who are seeking new ways of expression.


During the 21st century’s second decade, jazz’s essence of improvisation has been thriving. The rise of a new generation of musicians has helped reinvigorate the music’s relevance. Jazz is also being kept alive by the young musicians blending it with other genres.


The young jazz musicians below prove that the music is in good hands. They’re committed to ensuring that jazz will not get stagnant.


Kamasi Washington

The appeal of Kamasi Washington’s 2015 debut album, The Epic, was one of the main reasons contemporary jazz could connect with young people. It was a turning point for the LA-born musician, who had been a struggling musician before he became an inspirational singer and composer. Like many of today’s young jazz musicians, hip-hop influenced him.


Esperanza Spalding

Performing like a young Joni Mitchell, Esperanza Spalding is an extraordinary singer, bassist, and composer pushing jazz’s limits with her bold and boundary-breaking music. She’s also known for using social media as a creative tool. In 2017, her album Exposure was released through a live stream that lasted 77 hours. She’s one of modern jazz’s most cutting-edge original thinkers.


Makaya McCraven

Since he was a teenager, drummer and composer-cum-beat scientist-cum-singer-songwriter Joey McCraven has been keeping a close eye on the future of jazz. He’s known for his passion for playing groove-oriented jazz and hip-hop and is frequently featured on live recordings. His albums, such as Highly Rare, In The Moment, and 2019’s Universal Beings, feature live recordings. According to him, his goal is to create music that’s both challenging and social.


Jazzmeia Horn

The Texas chanteuse Jazzmeia Horn was born to sing jazz. She was inspired by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae and won the Thelonious Monk Institute’s International Jazz Competition in 2015. After signing with Concord Records, Horn released her debut album, A Social Call. The album was praised by critics and established her as the new voice of modern jazz.


Joel Ross

Since its inception, Blue Note has been home to some of the most prominent jazz musicians, such as Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson. Now, it’s the turn of another great jazz musician to join the label’s roster: Joel Ross. A Chicago-born musician, Ross is known for his work on the critically acclaimed KingMaker and his contributions to the works of other notable artists such as James Francies and Makaya McCraven.