Blues Rock Origins, the Birth of a Legendary Genre – Pt. 2

Although both blues and rock have shared common characteristics throughout history, blues-rock is a distinct genre whose birth dates back to the 1960s and still captivates fans around the world. This genre, originally British, was developed with the formation of musical groups by artists such as Alexis Korner and John Mayall, and several bands such as Free, Savoy Brown and the initial formations of Fleetwood Mac; and other American interpreters such as Johnny Winter, Paul Butterfield, and Canned Heat that also were pioneers of this genre. Jimi Hendrix, with his revolutionary and innovative musical style when it comes to playing...

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Blues Rock Origins, the Birth of a Legendary Genre – Pt. 1

Blues-rock is a music genre that emerged in England in the 60s, when blues was languishing in the United States. This last genre was the source of inspiration for almost every British band of the time. Although blues lovers didn’t agree with the use of electric guitars, the power of that -relatively- new instrument excited musicians such as Sir Eric Clapton and Mark Taylor, who later on joined the mythical band, The Rolling Stones. As rock became more psychedelic, it moved away from its root: blues. But even Jimmy Page, of Led Zeppelin, recognized that in 1968 many of his...

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Jazz Music: Rhythm, Harmony, and Melody

Jazz is a remarkably dynamic musical art. At the beginning of the 20th century it began to bear its first fruits, only half a century later, just after the mid-50s, it had already covered a very wide range of styles, quite different from each other, although all of them were based on new musical parameters, in an unleashed musical creativity and the amazing technique of its protagonists. Let's analyze some of its musical parameters, such as rhythm, melody, and harmony. Rhythm The uniqueness of rhythm in jazz derives from two main sources: that the musicians call "swing" and the concept...

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Dealings with the Devil: The Legend of Robert Johnson

One of the most enigmatic, mysterious and celebrated musicians of all time – Robert Leroy Johnson only ever recorded two records during his short career. However, his legacy lives on long in musical history. Born in the poor town of Hazlehurst in the Mississippi Delta region of the American South in the 1910s, much of his life is poorly documented. In fact, only two verified photographs of this legendary performer exist. The mystery surrounding much of Robert Johnson’s time on Earth has led to a whole series of legends and tales swirling like thick cigar smoke around the facts of...

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Free Jazz, What Does Freedom Taste Like?

Some people don't understand it, but there is the detail: there is nothing to understand. Or yes, if you take the meaning of the word as in French: entendre that means to listen. From there it can be said that someone doesn't like free jazz. Not only is valid but let's say, natural. In very reductionist terms, it’s possible to claim that our brain interprets what is symmetrical as beautiful and therefore pleasurable; on the contrary, finding these qualities in asymmetrical or chaotic structures is more difficult. Let's think that today there are those who still cannot see the beauty...

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The Forgotten Voices of Jazz

Jazz has been present for more years than anyone can tell, with its melodies that reach the depths of the soul, intense lyrics, interpreted by mournful, hurtful and dreamy voices, there is nothing else to do but surrender to its spell. A loud history of female voices has contributed to the genre’s sense of desolation, of bitterness, of background music for the most heartfelt drunken nights. It's hard to talk about female voices in jazz without mentioning the names of Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday among other great interpreters of the genre. But, what about those voices that are hardly...

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The 80s and the Reinterpretation of Jazz

It's considered that in the 80s the history of Jazz had reached a point where all the basic trends were consolidated. The 70s drove to the rise of what is considered the last new style of Jazz since its beginning, at the end of the 19th century. Jazz in the 80s So, what's going to happen now? A creative pause? A continuous repetition of the things already listened until exhaustion? Of course not! In the approximately eight decades of history of Jazz, no one has played "the last definitive note" of each style. And indeed, in the first place, the...

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Benny Goodman, the Raising of Swing and the Big Bands

August 21st, 1935 has been designated as the beginning of the Swing decade. It was the night that Benny Goodman's orchestra triumphed in the Palomar hall in Los Angeles, with a young audience devoted to the music they made, dancing the rhythms of that time like the shag or the jitterbug, or shortly after, the Boogie-woogie. Radio had already invaded homes in the 1930s, and if earlier in that decade, large soft-sounding orchestras were preferred, faster dances would now be imposed to the rhythm of jazz-inspired music, that some fine artists, such as Benny Goodman, had contributed to spread through...

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The Poetry of The Technique in Blues

The melody of blues doesn’t go with the sense of the key that rules in Western European music, nonetheless is still closely related to classical music. Back in the day, original blues musicians adopted as their own the traditional "major" and "minor" scale. All these adaptations that give birth to all the rich spectrum of black music; when blacks began to make music in America, faced with European music and adopted with amazing rapidity the pentatonic musical feeling to the European tonal system and instruments. So, the problem was in the two notes that were missing for the European "octave"....

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The Original Rock & Roll Record Labels

Back in 1940s America, when the cultural seeds of rock & roll were first beginning their growth, the musical landscape was dominated by just three major labels: DeccaRCA Victor Columbia These labels owned all the means of production, all the licences and all the distribution channels. Through their contacts in the media, they (for the most part) were essentially in control of the popular music that was played across the USA. Rock & Roll’s emergence changed all that. These new musicians, producers and distributors were not beholden to the wishes of the majors. Their pioneering desire was to encourage a...

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