A jazz-themed party is usually focused around music. However, the theme can also focus on the lifestyle that surrounded the introduction of early jazz. A historical, early 20th-century party could be a good theme, as well as a modern jazz club with modern music. Or you could integrate several ideas for a custom jazz party theme.
Set your party up like a jazz club. Have a live band play on a stage, or put together several mixes of old and new jazz music. Set small round tables with dark tablecloths and candles as if they are part of a jazz club. Set the lights low for that club feeling. Serve appetizers and drinks, and set aside a dance area. If you know any dances like the foxtrot or the jive, teach them to your guests.
Blast from the Past
Have everyone come to the party dressed in 1920s fashion. Women should wear a flapper outfit and men wear a Zoot suit or a black shirt with white tie. Award the guest with the best costume at the end of the party. Decorate the party area like a speakeasy of the 1920s. Serve food and drinks that could be found at these places during Prohibition. Either have a live jazz band play at your party or play a 1920s radio network through your computer, complete with music and commercials from that era. Decorate the area with vintage tablecloths and tables and posters from the 1920s era. Hire a dance couple and have them teach the Charleston, lindy hop and the foxtrot, followed by a dance contest.
Send out invitations with instructions on jazz-era dances like the lindy hop, Charleston, foxtrot and turkey trot. Explain in the invitation that there will be dance contests throughout the night to see who is the best dancer. Set up your party area with a large dance floor and seats surrounding it. Serve food and drinks at a table out of the way of the party area. Hire a jazz band or have fast-paced jazz songs on CDs or your mp3 player. Have the guests dance the dances and choose a winner. Don't pack the evening with just learning the dances but rather only have instructions a few times a night. The rest of the night should be dedicated to free dancing.