Perfume Directory

Jazz (1988)
by Yves Saint Laurent


Jazz information

Year of Launch1988
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 474 votes)

People and companies

HouseYves Saint Laurent
PerfumerJean-François Latty
Parent CompanyL'Oréal Group > YSL Beaute
Parent Company at launchYves Saint Laurent

About Jazz

A fresh light woody fragrance. An 'Old School' classic. The packaging was updated in 1998 when Live Jazz was launched, and is a reverse of the Live Jazz packaging.
Jazz was the first major launch from YSL after it reacquired the rights to its beauty business back from Charles of the Ritz in 1987.

Jazz fragrance notes

Reviews of Jazz

Fancy, spicy fougere that defies usual definition and is genuinely a joy to wear.

YSL's Jazz is still in production, and I am not surprised. Jazz really reminds me of Christian Dior's Eau Sauvage, both being fresh and with bergamot / lemon goodness, along with additional spice, wood, and floral notes. It evokes feelings of well-being and is enjoyable to wear for most any occasion.
24th August, 2018
A lot has been spoken about Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent (1988); it is a fragrance born out of YSL distancing itself from it's period under Charles of the Ritz as a perfume house. Original bottles were housed in a "Memphis-Style" plastic cladding that emulated the look of black and white piano keys (eventually moving to glass after Live Jazz launched in 1998), it was very late 80's/early 90's in aesthetic to be sure, but the scent inside is nowhere near as ostentatious. Previous feminines by the house were famously androgynous while masculines under YSL followed mostly in Mr. Laurent's sexual predilections of being suggestive of virility when they weren't out-and-out animalic. This gives explanation to Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme (1971), Kouros (1981), Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme Haute Concentration (1983) and Kouros Eau de Sport (1986), but Jazz didn't head down that "bedroom eyes" path, choosing a much more conservative and for all intents antique style. Jazz is a fougère, but not an aromatic fougère like what emerged in the 70's, nor a "fresh" fougère consisting of bright top notes and unobtrusive synthetic base notes like Aramis New West (1988) or the as-yet-unreleased Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein (1989), but instead just a classic turn-of-the-century type undoubtedly inspired by Fougère Royale (1882). Jazz wasn't the first fragrance to revisit this vibe, as Zino Davidoff (1986) had come across like a Victorian fougère bolstered with wilted flowers and the smell of used panties, making it appropriately scandalous for the loud 80's. Jazz played it safe, which was quite against the grain in 1988, and feels more like a spicier and woodsier take on the prototype fougère that appeals more to the everyman than the kind of haute bourgeoisie successful white collar guy typically known to flaunt their brand.

Jazz was orchestrated by Jean-François Latty, who's only notable credit besides Givenchy III (1970) was as half of the team on Puig's Brummel (1975), but he created a scent that was in it for the long-game rather than the here-and-the-now of the 80's. Perhaps this insistence on a classic approach is what inevitably cemented it against discontinuation, as it's outlived many contemporaries and even it's own flankers, yet doesn't receive the same heaps of praise as them. Jazz hums along to it's own tune, and it's one of long quiet melodious strides throughout the day. Jazz opens with bergamot, lavender, and artemisia, with only the last one being of significant difference from the fougère norm. From there, geranium pairs with lavender in the most classic of barbershop ways, harkening me back personally to the oft-ignored/forgotten Avon for Men/Avon Original (1949). Nutmeg, carnation, and cinnamon add a spicy warm floral twist that recalls another Avon: Wild Country (1967), but without that scent's heavy powder and dry leathery nubuck finish. The carnation and spices keep Jazz lively without making it sharp, and it's a classic "fern-like" accord from there into the oakmoss and tonka base, saddled with leather, amber, sandalwood and cedar. The sandalwood is very present in the dry down, but not enough to pull this away from fougère territory, with oakmoss and tonka keeping the woods in check, but the spicy middle continues to give this a distinguished character throughout the wear, without the profuse anise, clove, soapy orris, lemon, or vanilla of other 80's fougères. Jazz doesn't excite, but it does indeed satisfy, especially as day wear for work, casual use, or after a shower.

Jazz really isn't very "jazzy" and much understated compared to other 80's masculines, or even it's own flankers. Jazz Prestige (1993) would come about as a "bolstered" version of Jazz with almost the entire note pyramid (save the artemisia) intact, but with added fruits, spices, and sweetness to make both the sandalwood of the base and cinnamon of the middle pop even more, dragging the Jazz theme to the oriental side. Jazz Prestige is subsequently more lauded by perfumistos for it's dynamism and venerated by vintage hounds because it's rarer and discontinued. Honestly, I prefer the original Jazz as it's an antique vibe that's as precious to stumble across today as it likely was in 1988. The lavender and geranium tandem, for all it's talk of being a barbershop staple, is actually not seen so much these days, and it's nice to see a high-quality designer like Yves Saint Laurent make something in a vein usually left to old apothecaries or drugstore/direct sales houses, then manage to keep it alive. I get the hype around Jazz Prestige as I own it too, but sometimes that "extra" is just too "extra", with the vavoom and sparkle sometimes overpowering the core scent it was meant to augment. Jazz gets overlooked by a lot of YSL fans because another throwback fougère in the form of Rive Gauche Pour Homme (2003) would usher in a retro fougère craze with it's high-end Barbasol smell 15 years after the classic barbershop vibes of Jazz were forgotten in a haze of commercial missteps like Nu (2001) and the divisive final return to YSL male virility that was M7 (2002). Jazz is just a really solid traditional fougère with a spicy twist that makes it versatile enough for nearly all seasons. If YSL really was intent on making a more conservative masculine, they couldn't have done much better.
03rd July, 2018
New, old, hip ___ square
Lightly spicy green fougère
Weirdly fresh and clear

Notes in nose's ear
Catching jazzy melody
Miss___ beats ____ set ____ free.
18th May, 2018
It's a nice and well assembled composition that seriously lacks any form of character to set this perfume apart as being an individual so for this fact alone there's just nothing that I find exciting about this to warrant wearing Jazz. These observations are based on an original Parfums Corp flacon. Jazz to me is a very safe scent with an average longevity and minimal sillage, this perfume rides fairly close to the skin for it's entire duration. You'd have to literally bathe in this stuff to create a stronger sillage. This is something that you'd wear regularly to the office when you don't want to draw unwanted attention. I don't and cannot pick up on this off putting accord that I've read mentioned here numerous times as something faecal or discordant.

Jazz to me is a simple lavender and artemesia focused perfume that lies on a soft sandalwood, oakmoss and tobacco base with a mild floral bouquet of geraniums, that's basically it, pretty non-descript, flat and bone dry in my opinion with very little note separation. Even if I did find this odor as appealing, the dryness in this is far too much. That complicated scent pyramid would make you think that Jazz has depth and character but this is a simple scent, boring almost. It brings to mind a less complex and less strong version of Azzaro Pour Homme in the first hour. The comparisons to Van Cleef's Tsar are apt and are the closest smell wise. Tsar is a much better choice though, much stronger, more complex, much more character and far more exciting. I dunno, this just didn't move me in the least. The very far end of this perfumes life on your skin 'does' have something sleek going about in the base notes but it's so hard to smell and decipher at that point that I just don't see any reason to wear this when there are so many other exciting choices to choose from. Overall and the final conclusion being is that Jazz leaves me feeling cold and is something that I'd never wear.

Personally, I believe that when the Parfums Corp had re-established their perfume license from Charles of the Ritz, they neutered a lot of the original Yves' perfumes. Kouros was turned into a nasty musk bomb in lieu of civet, that penetrating musk that sucks the air out of you and opium pour femme was weakened considerably with it's signature Mysore sandalwood toned way down. I feel that this introduction of Jazz to their perfume line was an attempt to obviously play it safe and create something as inoffensive or unexciting as possible... they succeeded.
11th January, 2018 (last edited: 12th January, 2018)
TeeEm Show all reviews
United Kingdom
One of my all times favourites!
Very strong scent, non citrus, spicy, lasts long and reaches far
I first bought it in 1991
I bought it again in 2017
An evening perfume...
Enough said

06th January, 2018 (last edited: 07th January, 2018)
First fragrance I ever bought back in 1991 was Jazz. I was 14 years old. I bought it because I smelt it on the Father of one of my friends and because several girls at school had said they liked it. I can remember the first day I wore it. I felt 10 feet tall. Will forever remind me of being a kid. Looking back I don't think it was amazing stuff but the memories are!!

PS The new stuff is awful.
15th November, 2017 (last edited: 03rd November, 2018)

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Live Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent Alcohol-Free Deodorant Stick 2.6oz (As Images)

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