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Chamber jazz is a genre of jazz involving small, acoustic-based ensembles where group interplay is important. It is influenced aesthetically by musical neoclassicism and is often influenced by classical forms of Western music as well as non-Western music or culture. That stated, in many cases the influence is traditional Celtic music, Central European folk music, or Latin American music instead. The genre primarily began in Europe so significant neoclassical composers of Europe, like Igor Stravinsky, are important in it. The German ECM Records also played a role in it beginning in the late 1960s. It is also noted for using instruments not normally associated with jazz. For example, chamber jazz will make use of the oboe, mandolin, cymbalum, or the tabla.
The non-Western influences or instrumentation make chamber jazz at times listed as a kind of world music. At other times the fusion of neoclassical with jazz is deemed to be New Age and several albums of chamber jazz were released by Windham Hill Records. Windham Hill itself was co-founded by a musician linked to chamber jazz and was initially known for folk or world music.
The term is also used, on occasion, to simply mean the fusion of chamber music with jazz. In this case, it means something similar to third stream but without the orchestral aspect third stream leans toward.
Jazz is not traditionally considered chamber music. According to the definition of "chamber music", which is defined by Chamber Music America (CMA), chamber music is "works for small ensembles of 2-10 members, playing one to a part and generally performing without a conductor." Although the term "chamber jazz" might not be accepted by all, there are still musicians who play jazz in the tradition of chamber music. There are also chamber music groups that play chamber music in a style that can be considered "jazz".
Musician Ahmad Jamal performed "Chamber Music of the New Jazz", which can be a representative music piece of chamber jazz. During recent years, chamber jazz is performed more and accepted by a larger audience.
The following have sources describing them as musicians who have performed chamber jazz. In some cases it is unclear if they agree with that description. Further many or most of these musicians are primarily known for other genres of jazz or other genres of music.