Acid jazz emerged in the UK during the mid-1980s as a fusion of hip-hop, jazz, 1990s electronic dance music, and 1970s funk, creating a vibrant subgenre within electronic music.
British musicians and DJs notably drew inspiration from jazz funk compositions and samples from the 1970s, fueling the genre’s rise. Often credited with coining the term “acid jazz,” Gilles Peterson played a pivotal role in its development, though alternative names like “club jazz” or “groove jazz” are more prevalent in the United States.
While acid jazz reached its zenith in the early to mid-1990s, its influence persisted through the emergence of nu jazz, which carries on its legacy. Initially coined by London DJ Gilles Peterson, the term “acid jazz” was playfully adopted by young British DJs in the late 1980s as a counterpoint to the dominant acid house genre, its origin somewhat detached from its psychedelic connotations.
Various accounts attribute the naming of acid jazz to figures like English singer Chris Bangs, known for his work with “Soundscape UK.” Among the prominent figures in acid jazz are Groove Collective, featuring Jamiroquai, Brand New Heavies, Guru, and Incognito. Some suggest that acid jazz laid the groundwork for the careers of acclaimed trio Medeski, Martin, and Wood, pioneers of modern avant-garde jazz.