Music Acceptance Policy

Musical Style

Qualified jazz music for the contest must be jazz music with syncopated or swung rhythms that is representative of the jazz era (roughly 1920-1950), including such styles commonly described as:

  • Traditional (or "trad") jazz
  • Vintage jazz
  • Dixieland jazz
  • pre-war blues
  • Ragtime
  • City or urban blues
  • Memphis blues
  • Swing jazz or swing music
  • Big-band jazz
  • Big-band blues
  • Gypsy jazz or gypsy swing
  • Latin jazz (must include swung rhythms)
  • Boogie-woogie

Qualified jazz music must also be music that could be performed acoustically (i.e. does not rely upon modern electronics to be played on a street corner -- an acoustic piano could be substituted for an electric piano, for example).

Music that clearly falls primarily in another style of music (i.e. a style of music that is not jazz, or is representative of the jazz musical era) will not be accepted into the contest, including (but not limited to):

  • Soul music
  • Post-war blues
  • Swamp blues
  • Electric blues
  • Rhythm & blues (R&B)
  • Rockabilly
  • Rock and roll
  • Ska
  • Latin jazz with straight rhythms
  • Bebop and post-bop jazz
  • Afro-Cuban jazz
  • Acid jazz, nu jazz
  • Smooth jazz
  • Jazz-funk
  • Psychedelic jazz
  • Free jazz
  • Fusion jazz
  • Zydeco

Music that falls into the gray area between qualified jazz music and other styles of music, that uses elements of qualified jazz music through sampling and/or performance, will be accepted into the contest, but their non-qualifying properties (including modern use of sampling, modern rhythmic elements, or mixing in of other, non-qualified styles of music) will be taken into account during judging. Such styles include some forms of the following:

  • Neo-swing
  • Electro-swing
  • Swing house
Note that just being one of the above styles is not enough for a song to fall into this gray area. The music in question must also include elements of qualified jazz music, enough to be primarily comprised of qualified jazz music (for example, an electro-swing song that uses synthesized hip=hop beats for its bass-line would not qualify).

Authorization to Use

Music for the contest must be authorized for non-profit use in the contest. The authorization must be given (1) to the content creators to use the music to create videos for entry into the contest, and (2) to the Jazz Dance Film Fest for use in promoting jazz music and dance (including promotion of the Jazz Dance Film Fest contest itself). This authorization must either have been obtained by the Jazz Dance Film Fest in advance of the content submissions (i.e. music by “contest bands”), or obtained by the content creators from someone authorized to provide such authorization (i.e. the owners of the rights to the music). The authorization must be a written authorization, and be in the possession of the Jazz Dance Film Fest prior to the judging of the videos.

Music Inquiries

If you are thinking about using music that's not part of the official contest music list, please consider contacting us to make sure that the music qualifies for the contest. Just send us email at