In an interview many years ago on television, heard by this student, John Lennox said that the biggest influence in his musical life was the Blues. John Lennox started listening to the Blues before listening to any other type of music; the result of his influence on him can easily be seen. Because of the influence of the Blues, John Lennox was one of the biggest influences in music history with the Beetles and then on his own.
Director Martin Scores had this to say about the Impact of the Blues to America: When listen to Lead Belly, or Son House, or Robert Johnson, or John Lee Hooker, or Charley Patton, or Muddy Waters, you’re moved, your heart Is shaken, you’re carried and Inspired by Its visceral energy, and its rock solid emotional truth You go right to the heart of what it is to be human, the condition of human. That’s the Blues (Scores, ND). This student will start this paper with a short history of Blues because it was from Blues that Jazz was born.
Blues was born in the southern states in the Mississippi delta area out of a need: a need for the slaves to express themselves in a way that their masters would not punish them for practicing. These songs used their field hollers (used for communicating across the distances of the fields), their work songs, their plantation dances, ballads, and church music to express the pain and anguish they were living combined with the rhythms and beats brought with them from Africa. This evolved Into the music that would soon become the soul and heart of America.
Blues lyrics are often about broken homes or lost love. However, when performing blues live, this music is for dancing, hollering, and enjoying a good time. After laboring all week, many Blacks relaxed at juke joints on the weekend. Acoustic Blues music, food, and drinks were plentiful (Rusk’s, 2005). The blues became a predominantly Black form of music. Both male and female Blues’ artists wrote and sang about subjects that the White population was not willing to discuss in public.
The topics of these ones were sad, self-mocking, self-indulgent and assertive; these songs were also dealing with sexual disappointments, the failures of love, spousal abuse, and alcohol abuse. Singing the Blues Included any problems experienced In the life. White people wanted a more uplifting and faster paced music. Evolved into a newer and faster form of this music around the end of the forties. Many of Memphis’ best Blues artists left the city at the time when Mayor “Boss” Crump shut down Belle Street to stop the prostitution, gambling, and cocaine trades.
As these businesses closed their doors, this action was effective in also eliminating he musicians, and entertainers’ Jobs. The Blues migrated to Detroit and Chicago where it became electrified (History of Rock, ND). This move started the merging of Blues and Jazz influencing the rest of the music world and introducing the wide use of other instruments. The addition of the upright bass, drums, piano and occasionally harmonica moved the Blues music into a totally different arena; more people began listening and more hit songs were born.
The Blues was starting to gain a wider audience. Artists such as B. B. King and T-bone Walker began using the guitar in a ay that made a new style of music. This new use of the guitar was the first move to creating Rock and Roll. These two men were the first to start mixing New Orleans Jazz with the way the world listens to the Blues forever. Until then, the only ways to listen to this remarkable new sound were to either hear someone perform the Blues at a public function and memorize the lyrics, or to hear this music in a speakeasy, honk-ton, or any other type of nightclub.
Records made did not become big sellers, so the Blues artist would record under different names to ensure that bad albums loud not follow them around. Finally, desiring these new different sounds, the albums were selling and “the music of the slaves” was enthralling to music lovers. Experts consider Bebop, also known as Bop, as the beginning of modern Jazz. Bop began in after-hours’ clubs in New York with some of the most important Bop innovators, such as alto-saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and pianist Theologians Monk were playing a more complex, solo-driven form of Jazz.
Bop was the first style of Jazz that had no association with dancing; instead, the focus was on improvisation and music for Caucasians rather than for the public. Consequently, Bebop groups did not enjoy financial success (Barber, 2006). The city of New Orleans features prominently in early development of Jazz; Chicago became the focal point for Jazz in the early sass. Improvising (making up music at any given time) or playing Jazz from written are two ways of creating Jazz music.
Jazz is different from other types of music because it can combine different approaches to its arrangements (History of Jazz). Men like B. B. King began using their instruments in ways that had never been thought of to be used before. B. B. King was the first to use the guitar in the lead role. Jazz musicians were those to start using the drums as a central part of arrangements. The first piano style to be incorporated into Jazz was “stride” that developed from Ragtime and was popular in New York.
Jazz was born of many people from many places and cultures Just wanting a different sound. The Blues artist was famous for fulfilling society need for a different style of music by experimenting with different sound while incorporating the inventiveness and originality of the original Blues. First on the scene were the Big Bands and Ragtime. Both of these styles came about around dancing with an electrifying beat and a fast rhythm. Big Bands were more of a faster paced music with a mellow overtone preferred by the White population.
Big band music is essentially Jazz with many band members instead of the four or five man band playing in the small places. Several style varieties of Jazz exist. The New Orleans and Chicago styles consist of the Big Bands with many members. The Big Bands grew extremely popular with Louis Armstrong and went on to phenomenal success with the rise of Duke Elongating and his orchestra (History of Jazz). This new type of music became more popular involving many Black musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basis, Lie Armstrong, and Cab Galloway.
Through these musical innovators, the new sound was evolving into something to which all races could listen. These men brought the blues into the mainstream; by adding the unique twist of each causing lips to mimicking the words, feet to begin tapping the beat and begin dancing on the dance floor, and the blood to start pumping to the entire body. Along came the fifties along with another different way of looking at the music. Even knowing the music was the best it could be, musicians know it can always be better because people are looking for fresh satisfaction with the sound.
Musicians are always looking to stretch the boundaries to the limits and beyond. The fifties is the era in which Rock and Roll came into the picture. Many of the present iconic Rock and Roll bands and single artists received their inspiration from the Blues and Jazz. Most artists admit the influence of Jazz and the Blues yet still recording the old standards. However, this topic is for another paper. In conclusion, the Blues came out of the deed for the slaves to express themselves to retain their spirit and their dignity in a very horrific time in history.
From that need came the need for familiar music, although differently, forcing the Blues to evolve meshing with Jazz; together these two forms of music became the notes that changed the world. Additionally, Rock and Roll along with Country Western music came into actuality through the merger of Blues and Jazz. In turn, these two genres burst into popularity becoming totally and authentically American. Music is one of the primary methods by which people of America while representing so many diverse ethnic and ancestral backgrounds, have built a common culture.