Henri Matisse created Jazz towards the end of his life, when he was largely restricted to working from his bed - yet it is a glorious celebration of life, a riot of pure colors and playful forms. Inspired by the circus, folk tales and exotic voyages, Matisse thought of his cut-outs as 'cristallisations de souvenirs.' Originally titled Cirque, the improvised themes and compositional variations prompted the printer Tériade to suggest Jazz as an alternative title. Matisse explained `True jazz has a number of excellent qualities: the gift of improvisation, of life, of harmony with the listening audience.’