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
Composer Sebastián Iradier
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
Jelly Roll Morton
Fats Domino in 1956
Ethel Waters sang "Stormy Weather" at the Cotton Club.
Dave Bartholomew in 1977
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

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 habanera rhythm can be thought of as a combination of tresillo and the backbeat.

- Rhythm and blues

For the more than quarter-century in which the cakewalk, ragtime and proto-jazz were forming and developing, the habanera was a consistent part of African American popular music.

- Tresillo (rhythm)

In the late 1940s, R&B music borrowed tresillo directly from Cuban music.

- Tresillo (rhythm)

A three-stroke pattern known in Cuban music as tresillo is a fundamental rhythmic figure heard in many different slave musics of the Caribbean, as well as the Afro-Caribbean folk dances performed in New Orleans Congo Square and Gottschalk's compositions (for example "Souvenirs From Havana" (1859)).

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

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