R & B and JAZZ: ORIGINS AND HISTORY

R & B MUSIC

R & B is the abbreviation of ‘Rhythm and Blues’ and it is a term that is often used to describe the form of music popular among African Americans. It has been in use since 1930s. To put it in simple terms, R & B describes the form of music that was influenced by the Blues. The term Rhythm and Blues found its way into the American vocabulary in the 1940s. History has it that it is Billboard Magazine that came up with this term, purposely as a music marketing term.

1949: Jerry Wexler, a reporter with the Billboard Magazine came up with this term in reference to Blues and Jazz-laced music that was predominantly performed by African American artists.

”Rhythm and Blues ” replaced ”race music” after the latter was deemed offensive and it is during this time that Billboard began using the term R and B that Wexler created. Race music referred to music made by blacks then.

In 1950s Rhythm and Blues became part and parcel of youths in after-hour clubs but by then, it was being dismissed as lowbrow style of Black expression.

Fast forward to 1970s, this term was used to describe both funk and soul styles of music. Nowadays, the term ”rhythm and blues” is used to describe any form of African-American music despite the fact that individual styles can fall in categories of their own.

That said, what are the defining characteristics of R & Bs? Well, the term ”rhythm” emanates form the music’s use of liberal back-beats while ”blues” comes from the melodies and lyrics employed by singers of this form of music. Over time, ”rhythm and blues” was shorted to ”R & Bs” for convenience.

r&b musicians playing music

JAZZ MUSIC

Jazz music dates back to the twentieth century.That is when it began in the New Orleans,Louisiana. It is believed that Jazz was birthed by the impact of the many different nationalities in New Orleans, coupled with lots of musical influences such as Spanish folk music,ballroom dance music, Blues among other popular music styles.

It is worthwhile noting that Jazz was primarily invented by Blacks and its styles and tunes were passed on from one generation to another by ear- it was never written down. Another interesting thing about this form of music has to be that its main melody involved improvisation of several musical instruments. Early Jazz incorporated folk and popular Blues tunes of those times.

So, let’s take a look at Jazz ages.Read on…

Jazz age- 1920s: Jazz music is developed in New Orleans before spreading to Chicago and the city of New York. New Orleans was the term used to describe Jazz during this age.

Era of Swings: In the 1930s,bands became bigger and bigger for swings. A band would accommodate 16 or more people who played different roles. Soloists were given more freedom and there were many soloists in a band. The result was a more compact and smooth music.

Latin,Hot and Cool Jazz-1940s and 1950s: Latin Jazz was developed in the 1940s and it combined rhythms of Latin and American countries.

Cool Jazz was more subtle and gentler than Hot Jazz .The latter was also less intense,impersonal and more relaxed than the former.

1960s Hard, Soul and Free Jazz: Hard Jazz was just an extension of Hot Jazz.The only difference was that the latter was slower and had more varied bass. Soul Jazz was developed from Hard Jazz and it heavily borrowed from gospel and Blues.

1970s Jazz Fusion: This Jazz style combined Jazz with other styles of music such as Rock. Furthermore, it included unpredictable improvisations.

1980s/1990s Acid and Jazz Rap: This style of Jazz was started in London and the unique thing with it has to be that it merged together Jazz with Funk,Soul,Hip-Hop and Disco.It is believed that this style took Jazz to another level.

1990s to present: Present day Jazz can be described as electro-Jazz since it combines electronic dance with house beats, which reflects its club roots.

jazz musicians playing music

A great venue for R&B and Jazz musicians to connect with their fans is ConcertWindow.

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