Since launching in 2002, the Tokyo Jazz Festival has undergone a number of changes in terms of format and venues, and is now firmly established as one of the most important annual events on Japan's jazz calendar.

Since moving in 2006 to its current home at the Tokyo International Forum in the capital's Yurakucho district, festival organizers have worked on expanding the number of acts appearing each year as well as increasing its musical reach.

While big-name artists from the United States and Japan have always been the main draw at Tokyo Jazz Festival over the years, organizers have actively pursued connections from other countries and have increasingly sought to bring in jazz acts from other parts of the world. These acts may not necessarily be as well-established in Japan as the headliners, but the free-to-view gigs in the festival's Plaza area serve as a great way for them to get a foothold in the Japanese market and for the festival to showcase the sheer diversity of jazz that is out there today.