A. Mark Tucker's article on jazz history is the one I recommend to people who are preparing to take the jazz history proficiency test. The test is described http://www.jazz.unt.edu/node/41">here.
You can read the article in New Grove II (the multi-volume New Grove, not the three-volume New Grove Dictionary of Jazz).
Here's how to read that article online: Go to the Oxford Music Online catalog page. Click on Connect to Oxford Music Online. If you are off campus, you will be prompted for your EUID and password.
From the Oxford Music Online page, search on the word Jazz. The first search result is the one you want. The text begins, "Writers have often portrayed the history of jazz as a narrative of progress."