I love the musical intersection where the neighborhoods of blues, jazz, and R&B join together.
Many of the great pianists grew up at this intersection, including Wynton Kelly, Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Leavell, Herbie Hancock, and Ray Manzarek. Other instrumentalists too, such as Miles Davis, Keith Richards, and Duane Allman to name just a few.
The music we hear on this street corner dis varied, yet all under the same umbrella. It reflects the styles that are being developed in each individual neighborhood, and emphasizes one musical element now, and another one a while later.
A slinky swing groove may waft out of a house in the jazz neighborhood, while a soloist plays blues licks down the street. Or the beat may be rock-based, while the melody comes from the jazz club around the corner.
Now it’s bluesy, then it’s jazzy, then we hear a little rock and roll.
All melded together in a common attitude of soulfulness.
Duke Ellington and Stevie Wonder visited here, as did The Allman Brothers. Kanye attends a nearby church, and Aretha Franklin was a “regular” as well.
You yourself may be a regular visitor to this musical intersection, and perhaps you even live close by. Or this may be your first time, as a tourist. (No worries – tourists are treated as family here!)
I enjoy spending some time here myself, as when playing the classic song “Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t (Ma Baby).”
Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t (Ma Baby): Journey Through The Real Book #189
As you listen to me play this great Louis Jordan tune, check out how fluidly it’s possible to move in and out of these various styles. Blues morphs into jazz and combines with an implied backbeat to bring a little rock and roll groove, with bebop or blues on top.
It’s all to be found here, at the magical, musical intersection of blues, jazz, and R&B!
Have fun, and “let the music flow!”
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