Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946
American jazz composer, lyricist, and pianist Eubie Blake made an early contribution to the genre's etymology
Johnson in Chicago, 1941
The habanera rhythm shown as tresillo (lower notes) with the backbeat (upper note)
Albert Gleizes, 1915, Composition for "Jazz" from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Johnson in 1960
Fats Domino in 1956
Ethel Waters sang "Stormy Weather" at the Cotton Club.
Piano excerpt from the rumba boogie "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (1949) by Professor Longhair. 2–3 claves are written above for rhythmic reference.
Al Jolson in 1929
3–2 clave written in two measures in cut-time
Dance in Congo Square in the late 1700s, artist's conception by E. W. Kemble from a century later
Tresillo answered by the backbeat, the essence of clave in African American music
In the late 18th-century painting The Old Plantation, African-Americans dance to banjo and percussion.
Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley beat" is a clave-based motif.
The blackface Virginia Minstrels in 1843, featuring tambourine, fiddle, banjo and bones
Ray Charles in 1971
Scott Joplin in 1903
Ruth Brown was known as the "Queen of R&B"
W. C. Handy at 19, 1892
Della Reese
The Bolden Band around 1905
Sam Cooke
Jelly Roll Morton, in Los Angeles, California, c. 1917 or 1918
Eric Burdon & the Animals (1964)
The King & Carter Jazzing Orchestra photographed in Houston, Texas, January 1921
Louis Armstrong began his career in New Orleans and became one of jazz's most recognizable performers.
Benny Goodman (1943)
Duke Ellington at the Hurricane Club (1943)
The "classic quintet": Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and Max Roach performing at Three Deuces in New York City. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb (August 1947), Library of Congress.
Machito (maracas) and his sister Graciella Grillo (claves)
Dizzy Gillespie, 1955
Mongo Santamaria (1969)
Art Blakey (1973)
John Coltrane, 1963
Peter Brötzmann is a key figure in European free jazz.
Naná Vasconcelos playing the Afro-Brazilian Berimbau
Randy Weston
C pentatonic scale beginning on the I (C pentatonic), IV (F pentatonic), and V (G pentatonic) steps of the scale.
V pentatonic scale over II–V–I chord progression
Fusion trumpeter Miles Davis in 1989
Wynton Marsalis
David Sanborn, 2008
John Zorn performing in 2006
Steve Coleman in Paris, July 2004

Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson (February 8, 1899 – June 16, 1970) was an American blues and jazz singer, guitarist, violinist and songwriter.

- Lonnie Johnson (musician)

The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music ... [with a] heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular.

- Rhythm and blues

The mid-1950s saw the emergence of hard bop, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues to small groups and particularly to saxophone and piano.

- Jazz

The precursors of rhythm and blues came from jazz and blues, which overlapped in the late-1920s and 1930s through the work of musicians such as the Harlem Hamfats, with their 1936 hit "Oh Red", as well as Lonnie Johnson, Leroy Carr, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, and T-Bone Walker.

- Rhythm and blues

After World War II, Johnson made the transition to rhythm and blues, recording for King in Cincinnati and having a hit in 1948 with "Tomorrow Night" written by Sam Coslow and Will Grosz.

- Lonnie Johnson (musician)

As only a limited number of American jazz records were released in Europe, European jazz traces many of its roots to American artists such as James Reese Europe, Paul Whiteman, and Lonnie Johnson, who visited Europe during and after World War I. It was their live performances which inspired European audiences' interest in jazz, as well as the interest in all things American (and therefore exotic) which accompanied the economic and political woes of Europe during this time.

- Jazz
Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946

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American blues singer Ma Rainey (1886–1939), the "Mother of the Blues"


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Music genre and musical form which originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs and spirituals.

Music genre and musical form which originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs and spirituals.

American blues singer Ma Rainey (1886–1939), the "Mother of the Blues"
A minor pentatonic scale;
Musicologist John Lomax (left) shaking hands with musician "Uncle" Rich Brown in Sumterville, Alabama
Sheet music from "Saint Louis Blues" (1914)
Bessie Smith, an early blues singer, known for her powerful voice
A typical boogie-woogie bass line
John Lee Hooker
Blues legend B.B. King with his guitar, "Lucille"
Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1983
Italian singer Zucchero is credited as the "Father of Italian Blues", and is among the few European blues artists who still enjoy international success.
Eric Clapton performing at Hyde Park, London, in June 2008
Duke Ellington straddled the big band and bebop genres. Ellington extensively used the blues form.
The music of Taj Mahal for the 1972 movie Sounder marked a revival of interest in acoustic blues.

The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common.

As the recording industry grew, country blues performers like Bo Carter, Jimmie Rodgers, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, Tampa Red and Blind Blake became more popular in the African American community.