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Jazz blues (or blues jazz) can be any musical style that combines jazz and blues. However, since jazz is considered to have some of its roots in the blues, it almost always contains blues elements such as blue notes, blues-like phrasing of melodies, and blues riffs. Therefore the terms are generally used to refer to bands or musicians that have a distinctly blues style or feel, while also making use of other harmonic or melodic devices commonly associated with jazz.

The term jazz blues is also commonly used by jazz musicians to refer specifically to a tune that follows the standard Twelve-bar blues chord progression, while altering the chord progression and improvisation to fit a jazz style. Such tunes are extremely common in the jazz repertoire.

Twelve-bar jazz blues

A twelve-bar jazz blues will usually feature a more sophisticated or at any rate a different treatment of the harmony than a traditional blues would, but the underlying features of the standard 12-bar blues progression remain discernible. One of the main ways the jazz musician accomplishes this is through the use of chord substitutions - a chord in the original progression is replaced by one or more chords which have the same general "sense" or function; in this case occurring especially in the turnaround (i.e. the last four bars). One well-known artist that sang this form of jazz was Billie Holiday, and almost all well known instrumental jazz musicians will have recorded at least one variation on this theme.