its quintessentially American character is due precisely to its mongrel origins, a combination of music from three continents and untold numbers of individual local musical traditions. In the twenty-first century many of jazz and improvised music's more adventurous practitioners return, as it were, to its roots, eschewing narrow adherence to convention and combining, in postmodern fashion, the whole world of music, no matter how it may be labeled.
Many contemporary improvisers grew up listening to rock and world music but are also conservatory trained and therefore move easily in the classical world, which until recently had a troubled relationship with jazz. Experiments such as Igor Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto, written for the Woody Herman Orchestra, or the short-lived Third Stream Music movement of the sixties had interesting elements but little lasting effect. In our time, though, the boundaries between musical categories are being erased; interaction, integration, and blending are simply part of the landscape and no longer have a forced episodic quality.