As one of the most well respected American art forms, jazz has shaped the music industry spawning both the careers of various musical geniuses, and an abundance of elemental new music genres. Jazz was developed in the late 19th century and early 20th century as American and European classical music was mixed with African and slave folk songs. These songs were played to a syncopated rhythm, and from this emerged ragtime, then Dixieland and subsequently Big Band, what many consider to be the beginning of modern jazz. There is obvious West African influence, visible in terms of how the music is written and played; swing rhythm, polyrhythm, improvisation and syncopation are all prominent examples which are almost exclusively characteristics of jazz music. Over the course of the 20th century, this art form has been changing drastically as new artists bring on new influence and new sound. Dixieland became big-band, which became be-bop, which became fusion, Latin and free jazz, which, in turn, established their own separate styles like funk, acid-jazz, hard-bop, smooth jazz, cool jazz, etc. The musicians behind this ever growing phenomena are recognized as some of the best musicians of all time. Compiled here are who I believe are the best of the best, and the most influential all throughout the history of jazz music.