Rhythm and blues

Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946
The habanera rhythm shown as tresillo (lower notes) with the backbeat (upper note)
Fats Domino in 1956
Piano excerpt from the rumba boogie "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (1949) by Professor Longhair. 2–3 claves are written above for rhythmic reference.
3–2 clave written in two measures in cut-time
Tresillo answered by the backbeat, the essence of clave in African American music
Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley beat" is a clave-based motif.
Ray Charles in 1971
Ruth Brown was known as the "Queen of R&B"
Della Reese
Sam Cooke
Eric Burdon & the Animals (1964)

Genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s.

- Rhythm and blues
Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946

500 related topics

Relevance

Jerry Wexler

Music journalist who turned music producer, and was a major influence on American popular music from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Music journalist who turned music producer, and was a major influence on American popular music from the 1950s through the 1980s.

He coined the term "rhythm and blues", and was integral in signing and/or producing many of the biggest acts of the time, including Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers, Chris Connor, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Wilson Pickett, Dire Straits, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan.

Jordan in New York, July 1946

Jump blues

Up-tempo style of blues, usually played by small groups and featuring horn instruments.

Up-tempo style of blues, usually played by small groups and featuring horn instruments.

Jordan in New York, July 1946
Louis Jordan's Tympany Five
Lionel Hampton

It was popular in the 1940s and was a precursor of rhythm and blues and rock and roll.

Musicians working in a recording studio.

Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs

Published weekly by Billboard.

Published weekly by Billboard.

Musicians working in a recording studio.

Dominated over the years at various times by jazz, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, rock and roll, soul, and funk, it is today dominated by contemporary R&B and hip hop.

American jazz composer, lyricist, and pianist Eubie Blake made an early contribution to the genre's etymology

Jazz

Music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime.

Music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime.

American jazz composer, lyricist, and pianist Eubie Blake made an early contribution to the genre's etymology
Albert Gleizes, 1915, Composition for "Jazz" from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Ethel Waters sang "Stormy Weather" at the Cotton Club.
Al Jolson in 1929
Dance in Congo Square in the late 1700s, artist's conception by E. W. Kemble from a century later
In the late 18th-century painting The Old Plantation, African-Americans dance to banjo and percussion.
The blackface Virginia Minstrels in 1843, featuring tambourine, fiddle, banjo and bones
Scott Joplin in 1903
W. C. Handy at 19, 1892
The Bolden Band around 1905
Jelly Roll Morton, in Los Angeles, California, c. 1917 or 1918
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 mid-1950s saw the emergence of hard bop, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano playing.

The Banjo Lesson by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1893

African-American music

Umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by African Americans.

Umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by African Americans.

The Banjo Lesson by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1893
Congo Square African Drum 1819 Latrobe
Slave dance to banjo, 1780s
William Sidney Mount painted scenes of black and white American musicians. This 1856 painting depicts an African-American banjo player.
The Slayton Jubilee Singers entertain employees of the Old Trusty Incubator Factory, Clay Center, about 1910
Marilyn Horne and Henry Lewis in 1961, photo by Carl Van Vechten
Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing at Cafe Zanzibar
Lil Wayne is one of the top selling black American musicians in modern history. In 2008, his album sold one million in its first week.
Edward Ray at Capitol Records
50 Cent in 2006. 50 Cent was one of the most popular African-American rappers of the 2000s.
Beyoncé

African-American musicians developed related styles such as rhythm and blues in the 1940s.

Freed c. 1958

Alan Freed

American disc jockey.

American disc jockey.

Freed c. 1958
Concert poster for the Coronation Ball
Freed's gravestone in Cleveland

The organization's website posted this note: "He became internationally known for promoting African-American rhythm and blues music on the radio in the United States and Europe under the name of rock and roll".

African Americans

Ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa.

Ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa.

Slaves processing tobacco in 17th-century Virginia, illustration from 1670
The first slave auction at New Amsterdam in 1655, illustration from 1895 by Howard Pyle
Reproduction of a handbill advertising a slave auction in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1769
Crispus Attucks, the first "martyr" of the American Revolution. He was of Native American and African-American descent.
Frederick Douglass, ca 1850
Slaves Waiting for Sale: Richmond, Virginia, 1853. Note the new clothes. The domestic slave trade broke up many families, and individuals lost their connection to families and clans.
Harriet Tubman, around 1869
A group of White men pose for a 1919 photograph as they stand over the Black victim Will Brown who had been lynched and had his body mutilated and burned during the Omaha race riot of 1919 in Omaha, Nebraska. Postcards and photographs of lynchings were popular souvenirs in the U.S.
Rosa Parks being fingerprinted after being arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus to a White person
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963, shows civil rights leaders and union leaders
Black Lives Matter protest in response to the fatal shooting of Philando Castile in July 2016
Proportion of African Americans in each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as of the 2020 United States Census
U.S. Census map indicating U.S. counties with fewer than 25 Black or African-American inhabitants
Graph showing the percentage of the African-American population living in the American South, 1790–2010. Note the major declines between 1910 and 1940 and 1940–1970, and the reverse trend post-1970. Nonetheless, the absolute majority of the African-American population has always lived in the American South.
Former slave reading, 1870
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is director of New York City's Hayden Planetarium
The US homeownership rate according to race
This graph shows the real median US household income by race: 1967 to 2011, in 2011 dollars.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" being sung by the family of Barack Obama, Smokey Robinson and others in the White House in 2014
Genetic clustering of 128 African Americans, by Zakharaia et al. (2009). Each vertical bar represents an individual. The color scheme of the bar plot matches that in the PCA plot.
Al Sharpton led the Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks protest on August 28, 2020.
Although the ban on interracial marriage ended in California in 1948, entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. faced a backlash for his involvement with a White woman in 1957
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remains the most prominent political leader in the American civil rights movement and perhaps the most influential African-American political figure in general.
BET founder Robert L. Johnson with former U.S. President George W. Bush
A traditional soul food dinner consisting of fried chicken with macaroni and cheese, collard greens, breaded fried okra and cornbread
Mount Zion United Methodist Church is the oldest African-American congregation in Washington, D.C.
Masjid Malcolm Shabazz in Harlem, New York City
This parade float displayed the word "Afro-Americans" in 1911.
Michelle Obama was the First Lady of the United States; she and her husband, President Barack Obama, are the first African Americans to hold these positions.
Racially segregated Negro section of keypunch operators at the US Census Bureau

The African-American contribution to popular music is so profound that virtually all American music, such as jazz, gospel, blues, hip hop, R&B, soul and rock all have their origins at least partially or entirely among African-Americans.

Jennifer Lopez performing at a pop music festival

Boogie-woogie

Genre of blues music that became popular during the late 1920s, developed in African-American communities in the 1870s.

Genre of blues music that became popular during the late 1920s, developed in African-American communities in the 1870s.

Jennifer Lopez performing at a pop music festival

The genre had a significant influence on rhythm and blues and rock and roll.

Jordan in New York City, 1946

Louis Jordan

American saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.

American saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and bandleader who was popular from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.

Jordan in New York City, 1946
Louis Jordan's Tympany Five
Jordan in New York, July 1946, shortly after getting second billing to Glen Gray at the Paramount

With his dynamic Tympany Five bands, Jordan mapped out the main parameters of the classic R&B, urban blues and early rock-and-roll genres with a series of highly influential 78-rpm discs released by Decca Records.

The Beatles were a four-piece rock band from Liverpool in England. They are pictured here in 1965, celebrating their Grammy win.

Bandleader

Leader of a music group such as a rock or pop band or jazz quartet.

Leader of a music group such as a rock or pop band or jazz quartet.

The Beatles were a four-piece rock band from Liverpool in England. They are pictured here in 1965, celebrating their Grammy win.

The term is most commonly used with a group that plays popular music as a small combo or a big band, such as one which plays jazz, blues, rhythm and blues or rock and roll music.