[JPL] Jazz and RnB

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Sun Aug 17 08:10:34 EDT 2008

Arturo Gomez wrote:

> Blues has always had the jump aspect to it making it very danceable and
> while pre-WW2 big band jazz graced many a dance hall and ballroom around the
> country much to the dancer's delight, jump blues was the dance music of juke
> joints and house parties especially in areas outside an urban hub.
> After WW2 it was difficult to keep big bands touring due to travel costs so
> many former bib band members scaled down and began creating combos, big band
> swing with jump blues sensibilities, this was most noticeable in Los Angeles
> with groups like Louis Jordan & Tympany Five, Roy Milton and his Solid
> Senders, Joe and Jimmy Liggins & the Honey Drippers, Roy Milton, T-Bone
> Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, Big Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris and many others.
> Johnny Otis the "Godfather of RnB" who came out of the territorial big band
> scene as a drummer knew a good thing when he saw it and opened up the
> Barrelhouse club on Central Avenue that  became the hub for the new RnB
> scene which are the real roots of rock n roll, basically RnB with a new
> moniker. Forget that man from Tupelo and Memphis, Louis Jordan is the King
> of Rock n Roll in my book, a proto-typer rapper as well. Vote Jordan for
> President !!!
> Arturo

I have always thought that a number of factors went into the creation 
and growth of R&B. I think that the west coast jump blues that you 
mentioned was one of them. I have also thought that Chicago's electric 
blues and the east coast vocal ensembles, descendants of the Mills 
Brothers and The Ink Spots, were also important factors in the 
development of R&B. And of course, there is New Orleans which has also 
was rocking early on.

It's interesting to note that Johnny Otis, the man you called "The 
Godfather of R&B" is Greek.

Some years ago, when Bryant Gumbel was hosting the Today Show, they did 
a week long feature on the history of rock and roll. They interviewed Bo 
Didley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. They asked 
Chuck who was the first rock and roller. He said it was Fats Waller. I 
have a book called "What Was The First Rock & Roll Record?" The first 
thing listed is "The Blues pt 2" from the JATP session in LA on July 2,1944.

I just interviewed author John Fass Morton about his book, "Backstory In 
Blue: Ellington at Newport '56. He and several of the people he 
interviewed in the book refer to Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in 
Blue as R&B. I had never thought of it that way but after I listened 
again, I could certainly hear what they were saying. Those two pieces 
were written in either 1937 or 1938. Basie and Lionel Hampton's Big Band 
both recorded music that sounded sounded like R&B.

Eric Jackson
Mon - Thurs 8 pm - mid.
89.7 FM WGBH Boston

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