Chicago — Gen Z has a habit of bringing back old trends, styles and hobbies with a fresh perspective, from flip phones to baggy jeans. According to Axios, the generation has been just as influential in fueling a jazz comeback.
A Pinterest trend report for 2024 found that Millennials and Gen Z “will trade in their electronic beats for something far more retro: vintage jazz.” Young artists like Laufey, Domi and JD beck have been proving the report right. Laufey found and built her audience on TikTok and Instagram, weaving nostalgic sounds with modern-day ones.
"I'm making music for Gen Z. I speak and act very much in that way," she said. "A lot of jazz standards have very casual language of that day, and I write with the casual language of my day."
In addition to the rising prominence of artists like Laufey, jazz has been in the spotlight amid the expansion of the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Jazz Museum music curator David Kunian told Axios that the generation’s jazz revival might stem from characteristics that have long defined the genre.
“Jazz has never not been a young person thing," he said. "Because of the unique nature of New Orleans and that music is everywhere, and that it is taught in schools or through family members, there have always been young kids — whether they're 10 or 20 — picking this stuff up."
Noah Johnson (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based journalist. Follow him on X: @noahwritestoo.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett