So, what, exactly, is jazz? We know it’s black music, we know that many of the artists of the genre are political. But how does one define an art form so heavily based on improvisation and live instrumentation?

Better question: Is jazz dead?

The Root asked three fresh faces in jazz to school us on the genre: Kamasi Washington, Russell Hall and Sullivan Fortner.

“I feel like jazz was one of our first universally accepted and shared expressions of our intellect,” Washington says. The saxophonist has toured with Snoop Dogg and helped Kendrick Lamar make his acclaimed albums To Pimp a Butterfly andDamn.