As an art theory, the progressive approach falls between formalism and eclecticism. "Formalism" refers to a preoccupation with established external compositional systems, structural unity, and the autonomy of individual art works. Like formalism, "eclecticism" connotates a predilection toward style synthesis or integration. However, contrary to formalist tendencies, eclecticism foregrounds discontinuities between historical and contemporary styles and electronic media, sometimes referring simultaneously to vastly different musical genres, idioms, and cultural codes. In marketing, "progressive" is used to distinguish a product from "commercial" pop music.
Progressive jazz is a form of big band that is more complex or experimental. It originated in the 1940s with arrangers who drew from modernist composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Paul Hindemith.[nb 1] Its "progressive" features were replete with dissonance, atonality, and brash effects. Progressive jazz was most popularized by the bandleader Stan Kenton during the 1940s. Critics were initially wary of the idiom.Dizzy Gillespie wrote in his autobiography; "They tried to make Stan Kenton a 'white hope,' called modern jazz and my music 'progressive,' then tried to tell me I played 'progressive' music. I said, 'You're full of shit!' 'Stan Kenton? There ain't nothing in my music that's cold, cold like his."