Contemporary Jazz

This category is trickier to define than jazz itself! Contemporary means either 'of the same time as' or 'in the present time'. But of course what was contemporary in the early seventies is now half a century old. So the term is perhaps less useful as a category than it is as a starting place.

The Allmusic Guide suggest that Contemporary Jazz is something of a catch-all for jazz that became popular during the 1980s and 1990s, the latter part of the twentieth century. This means it may include sub-genres such as Smooth Jazz (Sade, Grover Washington, Anita Baker) or Cross-over Jazz (Diana Krall, later George Benson recordings) as well as that continuing river of mainstream jazz exploration.

In the latter category one might find legends such as Keith Jarrett or Herbie Hancock as well as artists including Brad Mehldau, Kenny Wheeler or Pat Metheny. The revered European ECM label has a huge roster of veteran and emerging musicians, many of whom have jazz backgrounds.