L. Bird pkeets at
Sat Sep 18 00:58:40 CDT 2004

Definition:  [n]  a combination of blues and jazz that was developed in the 
United States by Black musicians; an important precursor of rock 'n' roll.


Rhythm and Blues
Definition of Style

While the term remains in use as a category designation by some radio 
programmers and record retailers, the epoch of rhythm and blues (or R&B) 
truly spans the late 1940s to the early 1960s. As the term suggests, R&B was 
a combination of the swinging rhythm of jazz and other “race” music with the 
lyrical content, sonic gestures, and format of the blues. Its early days 
were dominated by high-energy bandleader-musicians such as Louis Jordan and 
Johnny Otis, but R&B at its height was largely a vocal form. The 
vocal-oriented exponents of R&B include the doo-wop groups of the 1950s, 
such as the Moonglows and the Penguins, and solo vocal artists such as Ruth 
Brown and Jackie Wilson. Perhaps equally important, the unexpected melding 
of R&B with country and western (or “hillbilly”) music in the mid-1950s gave 
birth to rock and roll. Later still, in the mid-1960s, R&B would become soul 
music, as illustrated by the long, varied careers of artists such as James 

Sample at:


Rhythm & Blues

-Used to describe several music styles
-Produced by and for African-Americans
-Developed out of per-war (WWII) blues & dance styles

Shared African & African-American Elements
    -Highly participatory
    -Features lead singer with group - call and response
    -Complex musical layers with rhythms and repetition
    -Expressive, densley textured vocal and instrumental sounds

    "Roll 'Em Pete" - Joe Turner with Pete Johnson on piano (1938)
        -Blues Shouter style
        -Performance Elements:
            -Strong vocal delivery
            -Driving boogie-woogie rhythm
            -Blues type pattern in the piano

    "Teardrops From My Eyes" - Ruth Brown (1951)

    "Hoochie Coochie Man" - Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) - (1954)

Rhythm & Blues
    -Broad term, used for various styles of music
    -Term initially used by Billboard magazine to replace the term "race" 
    -Used to encompass the whole of African-American music - blues, jazz, & 
    -Problematic term because of its wide definition - later supplanted by 
the term "soul" in 1969

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