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Rhythm and Blues
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Rhythm and Blues

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  1. Rhythm and Blues

  2. Post-War Blues • After WW II, blues develops into: • Jump blues • Electric (Chicago) blues • New Orleans style • Doo-Wop • Collectively called R&B or rhythm and blues -- industry term for “race music”

  3. R&B • Strong crossover appeal • Frequently involves mixture of styles • Most defined by strong rhythmic activity

  4. Jump Blues • Descended from swing jazz • Stripped down instrumentation: 2-3 horns + percussion section • Plus a blues shouter – male vocalist with strong, supported blues voice

  5. Jump Blues • Up-tempo numbers with boogie-woogie feel • Riff-based accompaniments • Rough, “honking” instrumental timbres • Four- or eight-beat style beat • “Slice of life” vignettes • Showmanship important

  6. Louis Jordan • “Father of rhythm and blues” • Showman, comic, and bandleader • Ex. Choo-Choo-Ch-Boogie • Shuffle style beat • Boogie-woogie walking bass • Riff-based • Verse/chorus blues form • Verse = 12 bar blues • Refrain = 8 bar blues

  7. Urban or Electric blues • Country blues carried north to cities • New style starts to develop in Chicago • Drums, bass, harmonica and/or piano added to singer+guitars • Role of each instrument specified

  8. Urban blues • Forms: • 12 or 16 bar (aaab) blues • blues verse/chorus • Often riff-based • Strong rhythm section • Amplification used • Aggressive and extroverted: shouted vocals, hard timekeeping

  9. Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield, 1915-1976) • Major influence on urban blues • Ex. Hoochie Coochie Man • Waters (guitar), piano, bass, harmonica • Verse/Chorus blues form • 16 bar blues; first 8 verse, 2nd 8 chorus • Stop time: 1 1/2 beat riff, 2 1/2 beats for vocals • Dense textures • Shuffle rhythms

  10. New Orleans R&B • Afro-Cuban influences prominent in New Orleans R&B • Major influence: Professor Longhair (Roy Byrd)

  11. Professor Longhair's Blues Rhumba • Walking bass • Boogie-woogie piano • Shuffle rhythm • PLUS “reverse” clave rhythm 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + X X X X X X X X X X rather than… 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + X X X X X

  12. Fats Domino • Influenced by Professor Longhair and Latin-flavored boogie-woogie • Signature characteristic - fast, even triplets • Laid-back style • Ex. Mardi Gras in New Orleans • Dense textures, often polyrhythmic as well • Clave rhythm • 12-bar blues

  13. Doo-wop • Gospel quartet sound, but with secular lyrics • Name from vocal percussion effects - nonsense syllables in accompaniment

  14. Doo-Wop • Somewhat more pop influenced than gospel • Harmonies slightly more complex • Tempos often slower • Sketchy instrumental accompaniment, but not usually significant

  15. Doo-Wop Examples • The Chords - Sh-Boom • The Penguins - Earth Angel • The Flamingos, I Only Have Eyes For You • Similarities and differences?

  16. Doo-wop: characteristics • Verse and refrain form • Triplets in accompaniment • Shuffle rhythms • Pop influence evident

  17. Gospel-Influenced R&B • Sam Cooke • Ruth Brown • Ray Charles

  18. Gospel-Influenced R&B • Gospel fervor, exuberance - “Getting happy” • Call and response (often) • Elaborate, gospel-style singing • Melismas • Blue notes, inflections

  19. Ray Charles, 'What'd I Say” • Gospel influences • “Getting happy” • Vocal/instrumental call and response • vocal style • Hammond organ • R&B • Lyrics about relationship • Electric bass • Horn section, percussion • Verse/refrain form