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A Perfectly Tuned Evening Every Time...
Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE BLOG
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
February 24, 2020

RobertJohnson Missiissippi Delta Blues

Robert Johnson considered to be one of the greatest blues performers of all time. He was born in Hazlehurst Mississippi 5/8/11, and died in Greenwood, Mississippi, 8/16/38.

 

His hits include, “Cross Road Blues” (also known as “Crossroads”) which is a blues song he wrote and recorded in 1936. Johnson performed it as a solo piece with his vocal and acoustic slide guitar in the Delta blues-style. It has since become a major  blues standard recorded and performed by various groups over the years, including the English band Cream featuring guitarist Eric Clapton.

 

Some of his other hits including  ” I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom ” and ” Sweet Home Chicago,” have become  major  blues standard as well.

 

The Influence of the Blues on Jazz is astounding but what’s more astounding is the influence that the Blues has had on the majority of music genres created in the 20th century. From Bluegrass and Country Music to Rock, R&B, Funk and Avant-Garde “Free Jazz” –  the Blues is the foundation.

 

Jazz and the Blues:

Wikipedia states that the Blues is a music genre and art form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African-Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals.

 

 

The Influence of the Blues on Jazz:

Blues and Jazz have much in common, from their origins to their spread, through the then-developing media of sound recordings and radio broadcasts, to national and international art forms. Both the Blues and Jazz have had a major influence on world culture that sometimes goes beyond music and speaks to the musical opinions and viewpoints that give these revered musical art forms relevance today.

 

 

Memphis Minnie

 

Influential blues “star”, the great Memphis Minnie

 

Jazz as we know it would not exist without the blues. The twelve-bar blues chorus, with its familiar harmonic structure, built on the centuries-old  5-note, pentatonic scale,  was the single most popular template (format) for early Jazz composition and improvisation.

 

 

Early jazz giants including Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong used blues scales  and structure as the foundation for many of their most important creations, while Duke Ellington, despite a half-century of composing that led him to write extended suites and, compositions continued to employ the blues as the primary foundation for the more than 5,000 pieces he composed during his amazing musical career.

 

 

As Jazz evolved and musicians applied more sophisticated ideas of rhythm and harmony, the Blues remained a constant, the basis for such influential compositions as Count Basie’s popular “One O’Clock Jump” in the ’30s, Thelonious Monk’s “Misterioso” in the ’40s, Miles Davis’ “Walkin'” in the ’50s and Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” in the ’60s.

 

 

Thelonious Monk

 

Pianist/composer, Thelonious Monk, photo: Rovicorp.com

 

 

From the very beginning, the Blues can be heard in most Jazz music… frequently deviating from its familiar form but still recognizable, with the artists showing a willingness to bend the rules to their own satisfaction.

 

 

These are significant examples of artists and improvisers steeped in an aura of the blues. Yet, the same could be said regarding such modern stylists as the late Ornette Coleman, who retained the raw authenticity of the blues form in his music both live and recorded. This was the case for other Jazz innovators such as John Coltrane, who built his masterpiece “A Love Supreme” on a basic blues riff not that far removed from Blues power house’ Willie Dixon’s “Seventh Son.”

 

 

JohnColtrane

 

Saxophonist and composer, John Coltrane, photo by BlogSpot

 

 

We can still hear the blues shining through today’s Jazz which clearly uses modern musical influences as its foundation built on everything from world music, funk, fusion, rock, hip hop and more that happen to be contemporary forms that are also steeped in the Blues.

 

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.

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