Travis Jackson has also proposed a broader definition of jazz which is able to encompass all of the radically different eras: he states that it is music that includes qualities such as "swinging", improvising, group interaction, developing an 'individual voice', and being 'open' to different musical possibilities". Krin Gabbard states that “jazz is a construct” or category that, while artificial, still is useful to designate “a number of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent tradition”

While jazz may be difficult to define, improvisation is clearly one of its key elements. Early blues was commonly structured around a repetitive call-and-response pattern, a common element in the African American oral tradition. A form of folk music which rose in part from work songs and field hollers of rural Blacks, early blues was also highly improvisational. These features are fundamental to the nature of jazz. While in European classical music elements of interpretation, ornamentation and accompaniment are sometimes left to the performer's discretion, the performer's primary goal is to play a composition as it was written. In a 1975 film, pianist Earl Hines said,

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