Jazz is a music genre that originated in African American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African American and European American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Although the foundation of jazz is deeply rooted within the black experience of the United States, different cultures have contributed their own experience and styles to the art form as well. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".
As jazz spread around the world, it drew on different national, regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to many distinctive styles. New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s, combining earlier brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation. In the 1930s, heavily arranged dance-oriented swing big bands, Kansas City jazz, a hard-swinging, bluesy, improvisational style and Gypsy jazz (a style that emphasized musette waltzes) were the prominent styles. Bebop emerged in the 1940s, shifting jazz from danceable popular music toward a more challenging "musician's music" which was played at faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation. Cool jazz developed in the end of the 1940s, introducing calmer, smoother sounds and long, linear melodic lines.
The 1950s saw the emergence of free jazz, which explored playing without regular meter, beat and formal structures, and in the mid-1950s, hard bop emerged, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano playing. Modal jazz developed in the late 1950s, using the mode, or musical scale, as the basis of musical structure and improvisation. Jazz-rock fusion appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s, combining jazz improvisation with rock music's rhythms, electric instruments, and highly amplified stage sound. In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called smooth jazz became successful, garnering significant radio airplay. Other styles and genres abound in the 2000s, such as Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz.
azz originated in the late 19th to early 20th century as interpretations of American and European classical music entwined with African and slave folk songs and the influences of West African culture. Its composition and style have changed many times throughout the years with each performer's personal interpretation and improvisation, which is also one of the greatest appeals of the genre.
Origins Blended African and European music sensibilities By 1866, the Atlantic slave trade had brought nearly 400,000 Africans to North America. The slaves came largely from West Africa and the greater Congo River basin and brought strong musical traditions with them. The African traditions primarily use a single-line melody and call-and-response pattern, and the rhythms have a counter-metric structure and reflect African speech patterns.
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. Lavish festivals featuring African-based dances to drums were organized on Sundays at Place Congo, or Congo Square, in New Orleans until 1843. There are historical accounts of other music and dance gatherings elsewhere in the southern United States. Robert Palmer said of percussive slave music:
Usually such music was associated with annual festivals, when the year's crop was harvested and several days were set aside for celebration. As late as 1861, a traveler in North Carolina saw dancers dressed in costumes that included horned headdresses and cow tails and heard music provided by a sheepskin-covered "gumbo box", apparently a frame drum; triangles and jawbones furnished the auxiliary percussion. There are quite a few [accounts] from the southeastern states and Louisiana dating from the period 1820–1850. Some of the earliest [Mississippi] Delta settlers came from the vicinity of New Orleans, where drumming was never actively discouraged for very long and homemade drums were used to accompany public dancing until the outbreak of the Civil War.
Another influence came from the harmonic style of hymns of the church, which black slaves had learned and incorporated into their own music as spirituals. The origins of the blues are undocumented, though they can be seen as the secular counterpart of the spirituals. However, as Gerhard Kubik points out, whereas the spirituals are homophonic, rural blues and early jazz "was largely based on concepts of heterophony."
The blackface Virginia Minstrels in 1843, featuring tambourine, fiddle, banjo and bones. During the early 19th century an increasing number of black musicians learned to play European instruments, particularly the violin, which they used to parody European dance music in their own cakewalk dances. In turn, European-American minstrel show performers in blackface popularized the music internationally, combining syncopation with European harmonic accompaniment. In the mid-1800s the white New Orleans composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk adapted slave rhythms and melodies from Cuba and other Caribbean islands into piano salon music. New Orleans was the main nexus between the Afro-Caribbean and African-American cultures.
African rhythmic retention The "Black Codes" outlawed drumming by slaves, which meant that African drumming traditions were not preserved in North America, unlike in Cuba, Haiti, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. African-based rhythmic patterns were retained in the United States in large part through "body rhythms" such as stomping, clapping, and patting juba dancing.
In the opinion of jazz historian Ernest Borneman, what preceded New Orleans jazz before 1890 was "Afro-Latin music", similar to what was played in the Caribbean at the time. 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)). Tresillo is the most basic and most prevalent duple-pulse rhythmic cell in sub-Saharan African music traditions and the music of the African Diaspora.
Tresillo. About this sound Play (help·info) Tresillo is heard prominently in New Orleans second line music and in other forms of popular music from that city from the turn of the 20th century to present. "By and large the simpler African rhythmic patterns survived in jazz ... because they could be adapted more readily to European rhythmic conceptions," jazz historian Gunther Schuller observed. "Some survived, others were discarded as the Europeanization progressed."
In the post-Civil War period (after 1865), African Americans were able to obtain surplus military bass drums, snare drums and fifes, and an original African-American drum and fife music emerged, featuring tresillo and related syncopated rhythmic figures. This was a drumming tradition that was distinct from its Caribbean counterparts, expressing a uniquely African-American sensibility. "The snare and bass drummers played syncopated cross-rhythms," observed the writer Robert Palmer (writer), speculating that "this tradition must have dated back to the latter half of the nineteenth century, and it could have not have developed in the first place if there hadn't been a reservoir of polyrhythmic sophistication in the culture it nurtured."
The abolition of slavery in 1865 led to new opportunities for the education of freed African Americans. Although strict segregation limited employment opportunities for most blacks, many were able to find work in entertainment. Black musicians were able to provide entertainment in dances, minstrel shows, and in vaudeville, during which time many marching bands were formed. Black pianists played in bars, clubs, and brothels, as ragtime developed.
Ragtime appeared as sheet music, popularized by African-American musicians such as the entertainer Ernest Hogan, whose hit songs appeared in 1895. Two years later, Vess Ossman recorded a medley of these songs as a banjo solo known as "Rag Time Medley". Also in 1897, the white composer William H. Krell published his "Mississippi Rag" as the first written piano instrumental ragtime piece, and Tom Turpin published his "Harlem Rag", the first rag published by an African-American.
The classically trained pianist Scott Joplin produced his "Original Rags" in 1898 and, in 1899, had an international hit with "Maple Leaf Rag", a multi-strain ragtime march with four parts that feature recurring themes and a bass line with copious seventh chords. Its structure was the basis for many other rags, and the syncopations in the right hand, especially in the transition between the first and second strain, were novel at the time.
Excerpt from "Maple Leaf Rag" by Scott Joplin (1899). Seventh chord resolution. About this sound Play (help·info). Note that the seventh resolves down by half step. African-based rhythmic patterns such as tresillo and its variants, the habanera rhythm and cinquillo, are heard in the ragtime compositions of Joplin, Turpin, and others. Joplin's "Solace" (1909) is generally considered to be within the habanera genre: both of the pianist's hands play in a syncopated fashion, completely abandoning any sense of a march rhythm. Ned Sublette postulates that the tresillo/habanera rhythm "found its way into ragtime and the cakewalk," whilst Roberts suggests that "the habanera influence may have been part of what freed black music from ragtime's European bass."
Blues Main article: Blues African genesis
About this sound Play blues scale (help·info) or About this sound pentatonic scale (help·info) Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre, which originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from their spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants and rhymed simple narrative ballads.
The African use of pentatonic scales contributed to the development of blue notes in blues and jazz. As Kubik explains:
Many of the rural blues of the Deep South are stylistically an extension and merger of basically two broad accompanied song-style traditions in the west central Sudanic belt:
A strongly Arabic/Islamic song style, as found for example among the Hausa. It is characterized by melisma, wavy intonation, pitch instabilities within a pentatonic framework, and a declamatory voice. An ancient west central Sudanic stratum of pentatonic song composition, often associated with simple work rhythms in a regular meter, but with notable off-beat accents (1999: 94). W. C. Handy: early published blues
WC Handy age 19, 1892 W. C. Handy became intrigued by the folk blues of the Deep South whilst traveling through the Mississippi Delta. In this folk blues form, the singer would improvise freely within a limited melodic range, sounding like a field holler, and the guitar accompaniment was slapped rather than strummed, like a small drum which responded in syncopated accents, functioning as another "voice". Handy and his band members were formally trained African-American musicians who had not grown up with the blues, yet he was able to adapt the blues to a larger band instrument format and arrange them in a popular music form.
Handy wrote about his adopting of the blues:
The primitive southern Negro, as he sang, was sure to bear down on the third and seventh tone of the scale, slurring between major and minor. Whether in the cotton field of the Delta or on the Levee up St. Louis way, it was always the same. Till then, however, I had never heard this slur used by a more sophisticated Negro, or by any white man. I tried to convey this effect ... by introducing flat thirds and sevenths (now called blue notes) into my song, although its prevailing key was major ..., and I carried this device into my melody as well.
The publication of his "Memphis Blues" sheet music in 1912 introduced the 12-bar blues to the world (although Gunther Schuller argues that it is not really a blues, but "more like a cakewalk"). This composition, as well as his later "St. Louis Blues" and others, included the habanera rhythm, and would become jazz standards. Handy's music career began in the pre-jazz era and contributed to the codification of jazz through the publication of some of the first jazz sheet music.
Within the context of Western harmony The blues form which is ubiquitous in jazz is characterized by specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues progression is the most common. Basic blues progressionions are based on the I, IV and V chords (often called the "one", "four" and "five" chords). An important part of the sound are the microtonal blue notes which, for expressive purposes, are sung or played flattened (thus "between" the notes on a piano), or gradually "bent" (minor third to major third) in relation to the pitch of the major scale. The blue notes opened up an entirely new approach to Western harmony, ultimately leading to a high level of harmonic complexity in jazz.
New Orleans Main article: Dixieland
The Bolden Band around 1905. The music of New Orleans had a profound effect on the creation of early jazz. Many early jazz performers played in venues throughout the city, such as the brothels and bars of the red-light district around Basin Street, known as "Storyville". In addition to dance bands, there were numerous marching bands who played at lavish funerals (later called jazz funerals), which were arranged by the African-American and European-American communities. The instruments used in marching bands and dance bands became the basic instruments of jazz: brass, reeds tuned in the European 12-tone scale, and drums. Small bands which mixed self-taught and well-educated African-American musicians, many of whom came from the funeral procession tradition of New Orleans, played a seminal role in the development and dissemination of early jazz. These bands travelled throughout Black communities in the Deep South and, from around 1914 onwards, Afro-Creole and African-American musicians played in vaudeville shows which took jazz to western and northern US cities.
In New Orleans, a white marching band leader named Papa Jack Laine integrated blacks and whites in his marching band. Laine was known as "the father of white jazz" because of the many top players who passed through his bands (including George Brunies, Sharkey Bonano and the future members of the Original Dixieland Jass Band). Laine was a good talent scout. During the early 1900s, jazz was mostly done in the African-American and mulatto communities, due to segregation laws. The red light district of Storyville, New Orleans was crucial in bringing jazz music to a wider audience via tourists who came to the port city. Many jazz musicians from the African-American communities were hired to perform live music in brothels and bars, including many early jazz pioneers such as Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton, in addition to those from New Orleans other communities such as Lorenzo Tio and Alcide Nunez. Louis Armstrong also got his start in Storyville and would later find success in Chicago (along with others from New Orleans) after the United States government shut down Storyville in 1917.
For whatever the reasons jazz and other African music forms dominate modern music forms. On the African continent musics are from the Congo, Mali, Senegal and Guinea are very popular. And kora music does not cease to impress.
It is because black American music has spiked and popularized American music. And American music has spiked and popularized throughout the world. The crazy thing here is, that some whites will claim early Africans were influenced by Europeans, so therefore it is not African.
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Nice post Lamin and Ish Gebor I think American New Orleans jazz music has influenced many modern type of music like Rock and Roll, Rock, Pop, Reggae, Compas, Salsa, Merengue, African pop. I think each of those types of music modified jazz to feet different taste.
This is my first time listening to John Coltrane. John Coltrane was a very talented saxophonist, it is unfortunate that he died so young at 41 years old. I heard the name John Coltrane before as a great saxophonist. In the 1980s in 1990s I used to listen to a jazz program in the radio who played mainly modern jazz musicians.
quote:Originally posted by lamin: For whatever the reasons jazz and other African music forms dominate modern music forms. On the African continent musics are from the Congo, Mali, Senegal and Guinea are very popular. And kora music does not cease to impress.
This has more to do with African-Americans than Africans from the continent.
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quote:Originally posted by mena7: Nice post Lamin and Ish Gebor I think American New Orleans jazz music has influenced many modern type of music like Rock and Roll, Rock, Pop, Reggae, Compas, Salsa, Merengue, African pop. I think each of those types of music modified jazz to feet different taste.
quote:Originally posted by lamin: For whatever the reasons jazz and other African music forms dominate modern music forms. On the African continent musics are from the Congo, Mali, Senegal and Guinea are very popular. And kora music does not cease to impress.
This has more to do with African-Americans than Africans from the continent.
"The African influence in the blues is undeniable. The poetic structure of many of the verses is similar to the Western African tradition of AAB poetry. The story like verses carries on the oral tradition of African cultures. As DjeDje points out in her article, many of the cultures of Africa made, and performed on instruments similar to what would be found in the Americas. Instruments like the balafon (xylophone), lute, drums, aerophones and fiddle like instruments would make the assimilation of this new music more transitional. Other performance practices are undeniably African as well. The earliest ‘blues’ music can be heard in the call and response type music known as field hollers. Slaves would communicate and ease the doldrums of their labor through improvised call and response songs. As these songs were sung during work they were often unaccompanied and completely original in their content. “On Southern plantations, the roots of gospel and blues were introduced in work songs and "field hollers" based on the musical forms and rhythms of Africa. Through singing, call and response, and hollering, slaves coordinated their labor, communicated with one another across adjacent fields, bolstered weary spirits, and commented on the oppressiveness of their masters.” Scoops and bent notes are reminiscent of the quarter tone scale common in African music. The refusal to center fully on a pitch is common in blues music, as the performer instead begins above or below the note. This refusal or uncertainty about tonal center can be seen as a refusal of African musicians to fully conform to the European tradition they were forced into in the new America. The lowered pitches of the blues scale are also closely related to the African quarter tone scale. The flatted 3rd and 7th are uncommon in the European tradition and add an element that is completely unique to the music. Other performance practices, like playing the guitar with a knife blade or playing the banjo with a bottleneck would likely produce sounds similar to those produced from African instruments.
However, the blues are not solely defined by African customs and traditions. The melding of cultures together makes it impossible to ignore some common musical practices of the European tradition. The blues is centered around a strong harmonic progression, that comes directly from traditional European counterpoint. The use of the I (tonic), IV (subdominant) and V (dominant) is directly related to the fact that African musicians would have been exposed to these new sounds. The masters often expected the musicians to perform at ceremonies and gatherings for the white cultures, and playing in the European tradition wasn’t just expected it was demanded. The ability to learn this new style of music, only demonstrates how capable these new musicians really were. Also, the reliance on form is not just a European tradition, but one that is certainly stressed in the European study of music. The strict and simple time meter is a musical element that was taken from this new style of music as well.
The Mississippi tradition of the blues is characterized by embellished and bent notes. “Black men and women sang about themselves, played guitar with a knife blade, or blurred, embellished or bent notes when singing.” The blues are believed to have begun in Mississippi, perhaps in a levee camp or logging camp or more likely on a plantation between 1870 and 1890. The tradition that would become the blues would go on to influence several other sub-genres of the blues as well as jazz and rock n roll. Another element of the blues that solidified during the early years in the Mississippi Delta is the 12 bar form that would define this genre of music. From something as atrocious as slavery, a musical genre as beautiful and diverse as blues was born.
The dual influences of cultures and traditions can easily be heard in many songs. For example the piece by Bessie Smith, “Black Mountain Blues,” the vocal smears and the poetic structure of the verse is reminiscent of African elements that were discussed earlier. The repeated vocal line AA followed by the third line B, is holding to the poetic tradition of Western Africa. The ensemble and harmonies are traditions borrowed not only from African tradition, but European tradition as well. The verses of this piece are a story being told, carrying on the tradition of the musician to pass on history orally. Another great example of African musical elements being transformed into a style of music is Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues.” The “holler” that Johnson uses throughout, the bent notes, scoops and style of playing the guitar are all examples of past traditions being used to form a new genre of music.
Jazz influenced Pop music. Michael Jackson was one of the greatest pop music singer in the world if not the greatest pop music singer in the world. Not only Michael Jackson was a great singer he hired great musicians to make his song.
quote:Originally posted by mena7: Jazz influenced Pop music. Michael Jackson was one of the greatest pop music singer in the world if not the greatest pop music singer in the world. Not only Michael Jackson was a great singer he hired great musicians to make his song.
Sting had a project done about racism with the song "English man in New York."
From what I can remember (I was a kid back then) the same song was played by an all black band at first, and rejected by DJ's.
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Grover Washington Jr. (December 12, 1943 – December 17, 1999) was an American jazz-funk / soul-jazz saxophonist. Along with George Benson, John Klemmer, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, Dave Grusin, Herb Alpert, and Spyro Gyra, he is considered by many to be one of the founders of the smooth jazz genre. He wrote some of his material and later became an arranger and producer.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Washington made some of the genre's most memorable hits, including "Mister Magic", "Reed Seed", "Black Frost", "Winelight", "Inner City Blues" and "The Best is Yet to Come". In addition, he performed very frequently with other artists, including Bill Withers on "Just the Two of Us" (still in regular rotation on radio today), Patti LaBelle on "The Best Is Yet to Come" and Phyllis Hyman on "A Sacred Kind of Love". He is also remembered for his take on the Dave Brubeck classic "Take Five", and for his 1996 version of "Soulful Strut".
Washington had a preference for black nickel-plated saxophones made by Julius Keilwerth. These included a SX90R alto and SX90R tenor. He also played Selmer Mark VI alto in the early years. His main soprano was a black nickel-plated H. Couf Superba II (also built by Keilwerth for Herbert Couf) and a Keilwerth SX90 in the last years of his life.
David Sanborn (born July 30, 1945) is an American alto saxophonist. Though Sanborn has worked in many genres, his solo recordings typically blend jazz with instrumental pop and R&B. He released his first solo album Taking Off in 1975, but has been playing the saxophone since before he was in high school. Sanborn has also worked extensively as a session musician, notably on David Bowie's Young Americans (1975).
One of the most commercially successful American saxophonists to earn prominence since the 1980s, Sanborn is described by critic Scott Yannow as "the most influential saxophonist on pop, R&B, and crossover players of the past 20 years." Sanborn is often identified with radio-friendly smooth jazz. However, Sanborn has expressed a disinclination for both the genre itself and his association with it.
In his three-and-a-half-decade career, Sanborn has released 24 albums, won six Grammy Awards and has had eight gold albums and one platinum album. He continues to be one of the most highly active musicians of his genre.[
Kenneth Bruce Gorelick (born June 5, 1956), better known by his stage name Kenny G, is an American saxophonist. His 1986 album, Duotones, brought him commercial success. Kenny G is the biggest-selling instrumental musician of the modern era and one of the best-selling artists of all time, with global sales totaling more than 75 million records.[2
Spyro Gyra /ˌspaɪroʊˈdʒaɪrə/ is an American jazz fusion band that was formed in Buffalo, New York in 1974. The band's music combines jazz, R&B, funk, and pop music. The band's name comes from Spirogyra, a genus of green algae which founder Jay Beckenstein had learned about in college. The band has released over 30 albums and sold over 10 million copies.
It all began in the early 1970s; the group Les Shleu Shleu, (Shleu Shleu saga includes Original Shleu Shleu of Maestro saxophonist Tony Moise, and Shleu Shleu D'Haiti with saxophoniste George Loubert Chancy) already a very popular Haitian minijazz was touring the United States when several members decided not to return to Haiti. They stayed and created in New York City: Skah Shah #1. Ex-ShleuShleu members: Georges Loubert Chancy aka Zoie (sax), Jean Ely Telfort aka Cubano (vocal), Joseph Mario Mayala (lead guitar), Johnny Frantz Toussaint (rythm guitar), Yves Arsene Appolon (drums), Frederic Mews (bass), they were joined by Lesly Lavelanet (bass), Frantz Laventure (conga), Edouard Leon (percussion), Rodrigue Gauthier (tamtam), Jean Michel StVictor aka Zouzoule (vocal) Skah Shah which is an african word for "little African Kings"', became synonyme of good compas. During the mid and late 1970's, the group performed so well that some week they play 6 days of the 7. The group's first album 'Guepe Pangnol' became an instant hit with several great tunes: 'Consolation', 'Rinmin', 'Kelly', 'Apparence' etc. From there Skah Shah emerged becoming better and more popular, they became Skah Shah #1. From 1974, to early 1990's the band recorded several mega hits and performed in New York, Paris, Haiti etc. Among the albums "Synthese Musicale", "Maria", "Les Dix Commandements" which includes the very popular nostalgic song "Haiti", two more classic albums from Rotel Records "Doing It" and "Message" complete the main 1970's album collection of Skah Shah #1. The 1980's saw the group becoming even more productive with albums and hit songs like "Men nimewo a", "America", Cubano's own "Loving You". Skah Shah #1 at this time became a reference in Haitian music. The main members of the group stayed together since 1974, except for a few new faces that came around to bring more force to the band. Members such as Anderson Cameau came energize the band even more. A few members also left; drummer Arsene Appolon, during the 1970's quitted the band and went to Haiti to create Skah Shah D'Haiti. This group has a few albums among others 'Croyance'. Arsene Appolon continued with success in Skah Shah D'Haiti, his band at some point in time is relocated to the French Antilles as Skah Shah #1 Plus. To this day, this band is doing great from the Antilles.
Emmanuel "Manu" N'Djoké Dibango (born 12 December 1933) is a Cameroonian musician and song-writer who plays saxophone and vibraphone. He developed a musical style fusing jazz, funk, and traditional Cameroonian music. His father was a member of the Yabassi ethnic group, though his mother was a Duala. He is best known for his 1972 single, "Soul Makossa".
Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), also professionally known as Fela Kuti and simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick. He has been called "superstar, singer, musician, Panafricanist, polygamist, mystic, legend." During the height of his popularity, he was often hailed as one of Africa's most "challenging and charismatic music performers."
Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901– July 6, 1971), nicknamed Satchmo, Satch or Pops, was an American trumpeter, composer, singer and occasional actor who was one of the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades, from the 1920s to the 1960s, and different eras in the history of jazz.
Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an "inventive" trumpet and cornet player, Armstrong was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance. With his instantly recognizable gravelly voice, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also very skilled at scat singing.
Armstrong is renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet playing, Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to "cross over", whose skin color was secondary to his music in an America that was extremely racially divided at the time. He rarely publicly politicized his race, often to the dismay of fellow African Americans, but took a well-publicized stand for desegregation in the Little Rock crisis. His artistry and personality allowed him socially acceptable access to the upper echelons of American society which were highly restricted for black men of his era.
John William Coltrane, also known as "Trane" (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967), was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and was later at the forefront of free jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions during his career, and appeared as a sideman on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk.
As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. Coltrane influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards and recognitions, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church as Saint John William Coltrane and a special Pulitzer Prize in 2007. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist.
Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. He is among the most influential and acclaimed figures in the history of jazz and 20th century music. Davis adopted a variety of musical directions in his five-decade career which kept him at the forefront of a number of major stylistic developments in jazz.
Born and raised in Illinois, Davis left his studies at The Juilliard School in New York City and made his professional debut as a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker's bebop quintet from 1944 to 1948. Shortly after, he recorded the Birth of the Cool sessions for Capitol Records, which were instrumental to the development of cool jazz. In the early 1950s, Davis recorded some of the earliest hard bop music while on Prestige Records but did so haphazardly due to a heroin addiction. After a widely acclaimed comeback performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1955, he signed a long-term contract with Columbia Records and recorded the 1957 album 'Round About Midnight. It was his first work with saxophonist John Coltrane and bassist Paul Chambers, key members of the sextet he led into the early 1960s. During this period, he alternated between orchestral jazz collaborations with arranger Gil Evans, such as the Spanish music-influenced Sketches of Spain (1960), and band recordings, such as Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959). The latter recording remains one of the most popular jazz albums of all time, having sold over four million copies in the U.S.
Davis made several line-up changes while recording Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), his 1961 Blackhawk concerts, and Seven Steps to Heaven (1963), another mainstream success that introduced bassist Ron Carter, pianist Herbie Hancock, and drummer Tony Williams. After adding saxophonist Wayne Shorter to his new quintet in 1964, Davis led them on a series of more abstract recordings often composed by the band members, helping pioneer the post-bop genre with albums such as E.S.P (1965) and Miles Smiles (1967), before transitioning into his electric period. During the 1970s, he radically experimented with rock, funk, African rhythms, emerging electronic music technology, and an ever-changing line-up of musicians, including keyboardist Joe Zawinul, drummer Al Foster, and guitarist John McLaughlin. This period, beginning with Davis' 1969 studio album In a Silent Way and concluding with the 1975 concert recording Agharta, was the most controversial in his career, alienating and challenging many in jazz. His million-selling 1970 record Bitches Brew helped spark a resurgence in the genre's commercial popularity with jazz fusion as the decade progressed.
After a five-year retirement due to poor health, Davis resumed his career in the 1980s, employing younger musicians and pop music sounds on albums such as The Man with the Horn (1981) and Tutu (1986). Critics were generally unreceptive but the decade garnered the trumpeter his highest level of commercial recognition. He performed sold-out concerts worldwide while branching out into visual arts, film, and television work, before his death in 1991 from the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure. In 2006, Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which recognized him as "one of the key figures in the history of jazz". Rolling Stone described him as "the most revered jazz trumpeter of all time, not to mention one of the most important musicians of the 20th century," while Gerald Early called him inarguably one of the most influential and innovative musicians of that period.
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he was one of the most popular entertainers in the world, and was the best-selling music artist at the time of his death. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion along with his publicized personal life made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.
The eighth child of the Jackson family, Michael made his professional debut in 1964 with his elder brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5. He began his solo career in 1971 while at Motown Records. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. His music videos, including those of "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller" from his 1982 album Thriller, are credited with breaking racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. The popularity of these videos helped bring the television channel MTV to fame. Jackson's 1987 album Bad spawned the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror", and "Dirty Diana", becoming the first album to have five number-one singles in the nation. He continued to innovate with videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" throughout the 1990s, and forged a reputation as a touring solo artist. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous artists of various music genres.
Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of 65 million copies worldwide. Jackson's other albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world's best-selling albums. He is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame as the only dancer from pop and rock music. His other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records including the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time, 13 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Legend Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 26 American Music Awards—more than any other artist—including the "Artist of the Century" and "Artist of the 1980s", 13 number-one singles in the United States during his solo career—more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era—and estimated sales of over 350 million records worldwide.[Note 1] Jackson won hundreds of awards, making him the most awarded recording artist in the history of popular music. He became the first artist in history to have a top ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades when "Love Never Felt So Good" reached number nine on May 21, 2014. Jackson traveled the world attending events honoring his humanitarianism, and, in 2000, the Guinness World Records recognized him for supporting 39 charities, more than any other entertainer.
Aspects of Jackson's personal life, including his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior, generated controversy. In 1993, he was accused of child sexual abuse, but the civil case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount and no formal charges were brought. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges after the jury found him not guilty on all counts. While preparing for his comeback concert series, This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and a live broadcast of his public memorial service was viewed around the world. Forbes ranks Jackson the top-earning dead celebrity, with earnings of $825 million in 2016, the highest yearly amount ever recorded by the publication. Jackson is also remembered for his generous philanthropy and his pioneering efforts in charitable fundraising within the entertainment industry.
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, CBE (born 2 October 1951), better known by his stage name Sting, is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and actor. He was the principal songwriter, lead singer, and bassist for the new wave rock band The Police from 1977 to 1984, before launching a solo career.
He has included elements of rock, jazz, reggae, classical, new-age and worldbeat in his music. As a solo musician and a member of The Police, he has received 16 Grammy Awards (his first in the category of best rock instrumental in 1980, for "Reggatta de Blanc"), three Brit Awards, including Best British Male in 1994 and Outstanding Contribution in 2002, a Golden Globe, an Emmy and four nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Police in 2003. In 2000, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording. In 2003, Sting received a CBE from Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for services to music, and was made a Kennedy Center Honoree at the White House in 2014. He was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 2017.
With The Police, Sting became one of the world's best-selling music artists. Solo and with The Police combined, he has sold over 100 million records. In 2006, Paste ranked him 62nd of the 100 best living songwriters. He was 63rd of VH1's 100 greatest artists of rock, and 80th of Q magazine's 100 greatest musical stars of 20th century. He has collaborated with other musicians, including "Rise & Fall" with Craig David, "All for Love", with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, "You Will Be My Ain True Love" with Alison Krauss, and introduced the North African music genre raï to Western audiences by his international hit "Desert Rose" with Cheb Mami.
Helen Folasade Adu, CBE (Yoruba: Fọláṣadé Adú [fɔ̄láʃādé ādú]; born 16 January 1959), known professionally as Sade Adu or simply Sade (/ʃɑːˈdeɪ/ shah-DAY), is a Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer. With members Paul S. Denman, Andrew Hale and Stuart Matthewman, she gained worldwide fame as the lead vocalist of the English band Sade.
Following a brief stint as a fashion designer of men's clothing and part-time model, Sade began backup singing for the band Pride in the early 1980s. Growing attention from record labels led her, along with other fellow band members, to separate from Pride and form the band Sade. Following a record deal with Epic Records the band released their debut album Diamond Life (1984). The album sold over six million copies, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the 1980s, and the best-selling debut ever by a British female vocalist.
Following the release of the band's debut album, they went on to release a string of multi-platinum selling albums. Their follow-up Promise was released in 1985 and peaked at number-one in the UK Albums Chart, the US Billboard 200, and went on to sell four million copies in the US. Sade would later go on to make her acting debut in the British film, Absolute Beginners (1986), before the release of the band's albums, Stronger Than Pride (1988) and Love Deluxe (1992). After the release of the fifth album, Lovers Rock (2000), the band embarked on a ten-year hiatus in which Sade raised her daughter. Following the hiatus, the band returned with their sixth album, Soldier of Love (2010) which became a commercial success and won a Grammy Award.
Sade's US certified sales stand at 23.5 million units (as of 2015) according to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) website, and the band has sold more than 50 million units worldwide.
The band was ranked at number 50 on VH1's list of the "100 greatest artists of all time". In 2010, The Sunday Times described her as the most successful solo British female artist in history. In 2012, Sade was listed at number 30 on VH1's "100 Greatest Women In Music".
Bob Marley Robert Nesta Marley, OM (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim, blending mostly reggae, ska and rocksteady in his compositions. Starting out in 1963 with the group the Wailers, he forged a distinctive songwriting and vocal style that would later resonate with audiences worldwide. The Wailers would go on to release some of the earliest reggae records with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry.
After the Wailers disbanded in 1974, Marley pursued a solo career upon his relocation to England that culminated in the release of the album Exodus in 1977, which established his worldwide reputation and elevated his status as one of the world's best-selling artists of all time, with sales of more than 75 million records. Exodus stayed on the British album charts for 56 consecutive weeks. It included four UK hit singles: "Exodus", "Waiting in Vain", "Jamming", and "One Love". In 1978, he released the album Kaya, which included the hit singles "Is This Love" and "Satisfy My Soul". The greatest hits album, Legend, was released in 1984, three years after Marley died. It subsequently became the best-selling reggae album of all time.
Diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma in 1977, Marley died on 11 May 1981 in Miami at age 36. He was a committed Rastafari who infused his music with a sense of spirituality.:242 He is credited with popularising reggae music around the world and served as a symbol of Jamaican culture and identity. Marley has also evolved into a global symbol and inspired numerous items of merchandise.
Winston Rodney OD (born 1 March 1945), better known by the stage name Burning Spear, is a Jamaican roots reggae singer and musician. Burning Spear is a Rastafarian and one of the most influential and long-standing roots artists to emerge from the 1970s
Burning Spear was originally Rodney's group, named after a military award given by Jomo Kenyatta, the first President of an independent Kenya, and included bass singer Rupert Willington. The duo auditioned for Dodd in 1969 which led to the release of their debut single "Door Peep" (the session also included Cedric Brooks on saxophone). They were then joined by tenor Delroy Hinds. The trio recorded several more singles for Dodd, and two albums, before they moved on to work with Jack Ruby in 1975. Their first recording with Ruby, "Marcus Garvey", was intended as an exclusive track for Ruby's Ocho Rios–based Hi-Power sound system, but was released as a single, giving them an immediate hit, and was followed by "Slavery Days". These recordings featured the backing band The Black Disciples, which included Earl "Chinna" Smith, Valentine Chin, Robbie Shakespeare and Leroy Wallace. The group worked with Ruby on their third album, Marcus Garvey (1975), which was immediately successful and led to a deal with Island Records to give the album a wider release. Island remixed and altered the speed of some of the tracks, much to the annoyance of fans and the group, leading Rodney to set up his own Burning Music label for future releases where he would have full control, although further releases followed on Island including Garvey's Ghost, a dub album, and the Man in the Hills album. In late 1976, Rodney split from both Ruby and group members Willington and Hinds, and from that point on used the name Burning Spear for himself alone. Dry and Heavy followed in 1977, self-produced but still on Island, and with a sizeable following by now in the United Kingdom, he performed in London that year with members of Aswad acting as his backing band for a sold-out show at the Rainbow Theatre, which was recorded and released as the album Live!. Aswad also provided backing on his next studio album, Social Living (1978), which also featured Sly Dunbar and Rico Rodriguez. A dub version of the album, Living Dub (1979), was mixed by Sylvan Morris. His profile was raised further by an appearance in the film Rockers, performing "Jah no Dead".
In 1980, Rodney left Island Records and set up the Burning Music Production Company, which he signed to EMI, debuting on the label with Hail H.I.M., recorded at Marley's Tuff Gong studio and co-produced by Aston Barrett. A Sylvan Morris dub version followed in the form of Living Dub Volume Two. In 1982, Rodney signed with Heartbeat Records with a series of well-received albums following, including the 1985 Grammy-nominated Resistance. He returned to Island in the early 1990s, releasing two albums before rejoining Heartbeat. This arrangement in which Burning Music Productions delivered completed albums of music to EMI, Island and Heartbeat Records for worldwide distribution lasted for many years. When Heartbeat ceased releasing new material, Burning Music took matters into their own hands and began to release music solely through their own imprint. Albums released by Heartbeat through an agreement with Burning Music include: The World Should Know (1993), Rasta Business (1995), Appointment with His Majesty (1997) and the Grammy award winning Calling Rastafari (1999) which was the last completed album to be solely pressed by an outside label.
Burning Spear spent decades touring extensively, and several live albums have been issued including Burning Spear Live, Live in Paris, Live in South Africa, Live in Vermont, Peace and Love Live, Live at Montreux Jazz Festival and (A)live 1997. Touring the world time and time again, the band’s live sound matured and grew more sophisticated. While remaining firmly rooted in reggae, accents of free jazz, funk and psychedelic music were increasingly in evidence.
His 1999 album, Calling Rastafari brought his first Grammy Award in 2000, a feat which he repeated with Jah Is Real in 2009.
In 2002, he and his wife, Sonia Rodney who has produced a number of his albums, restarted Burning Music Records, giving him a greater degree of artistic control. Since the mid-1990s, he has been based in Queens in New York City.
Burning Spear was awarded the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer on 15 October 2007.
Since establishing their own label, Winston and Sonia Rodney have released nearly forty singles, CDs, DVDs and vinyl albums on the Burning Music imprint. Many of these albums have been deluxe editions of albums previously available on other labels and often include bonus tracks and DVD footage. In this way, Burning Music is able to assure the quality of the Burning Spear music available in the market and guarantee that music from all phases of Burning Spear's career is available for his listeners to hear.
After the band formed in 1975, their debut single release, "Kibudu, Mansetta And Abuku", arrived on the small independent label Dip, and linked the plight of urban black youth with the image of a greater African homeland. They followed it with "Nyah Luv" for Anchor. They were initially refused live dates in Caribbean venues in Birmingham due to their Rastafarian beliefs. Aligning themselves closely with the Rock Against Racism organisation and featuring in its first music festival in early 1978, they chose to tour with sympathetic elements of the punk movement, including the Stranglers, XTC etc. Eventually they found a more natural home in support slots for Burning Spear, which brought them to the attention of Island Records.
Their first release for Island was the "Ku Klux Klan" 45, a tilt at the evils of racism, and one often accompanied by a visual parody of the sect on stage. By this time their ranks had swelled to include Selwyn Brown (keyboards), Steve "Grizzly" Nisbett (drums), Alphonso Martin (vocals, percussion) and Mykaell Riley (vocals). Handsworth Revolution was a long-playing record and one of the major landmarks in the evolution of British reggae (Executive Producer Pete King). However, despite critical and moderate commercial success over three albums, the relationship with Island Records had soured by the advent of their third album, Caught You (released in the US as Reggae Fever).
The band made their US concert debut at the Mudd Club in New York in 1980.
Tom Terrell, who would later serve as their manager, was instrumental in masterminding a Steel Pulse concert on the night of Bob Marley's funeral, which was broadcast live around the world from the 9:30 Club, 930 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., on 21 May 1981.
They switched to Elektra Records, and unveiled their most consistent collection of songs since Handsworth Revolution with True Democracy, distinguished by the Garvey-eulogising 'Rally Round' cut. A further definitive set arrived in Earth Crisis. However, Elektra chose to take a leaf out of Island's book in trying to coerce Steel Pulse into a more mainstream vein, asking them to emulate the pop-reggae stance of Eddy Grant. Babylon The Bandit was consequently weakened, but did contain "Not King James Version".
Their next move was of Hinds of Steel Pulse to MCA for State of Emergency, which retained some of the synthesised dance elements of its predecessor. Centennial was recorded live at the Elysee Montmartre in Paris, over three nights, and dedicated to the hundred year anniversary of the birth of Haile Selassie. It was the first recording since the defection of Alphonso Martin, leaving the trio of Hinds, Nisbett and Selwyn. While they still faced criticism at the hands of British reggae fans, in the United States their reputation was growing, becoming the first ever reggae band to appear on the Tonight television show. Their profile was raised further when, in 1992, Hinds challenged the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission in the Supreme Court, asserting that their cab drivers discriminated against black people in general and Rastafarians in particular. The lawsuit was later dropped by Steel Pulse.
A Grammy award was awarded for their 1986 album Babylon The Bandit; Steel Pulse has received nominations for Victims (1991) and Rastafari Centennial (1992). In 1989, the group contributed I Can't Stand it to the soundtrack of Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing.
In 1994, the group headlined some of the world's biggest reggae festivals including Reggae Sunsplash USA, Jamaican Sunsplash, Japan Splash and Northern California annual Reggae on the River Festival. In 1986, Steel Pulse contributed a version of "Franklin's Tower" on Pow Wow Records' Fire on the Mountain: Reggae Celebrates the Grateful Dead compilation. They recorded The Police's "Can't Stand Losing You" for a reggae compilation of Police tunes that appeared on the Ark 21 label. Rastanthology, a 17-song collection of Steel Pulse classics (the 1996 compilation was released on the band's own Wise Man Doctrine label).
In 1997, the band released Rage and Fury.
Until February 2001, it had been many years since Pulse had performed in their hometown of Birmingham. They decided to perform at the Ray Watts memorial concert, which was held at the Irish Centre. Pulse shared the stage with Watts' band, Beshara, along with other artists from Birmingham.
In 2004, Steel Pulse returned to their militant roots with African Holocaust – their eleventh studio album. With guest appearances by Damian Marley, Capleton, and Tiken Jah Fakoly (on the track African Holocaust), the album is a collection of protest and spiritual songs, including "Global Warning" (a dire warning about climate change), "Tyrant", a protest song against political corruption, and "No More Weapons", an anti-war song. Also featured on the album is the Bob Dylan song, "George Jackson".
In 2007, the band released a music video for the track, 'Door of No Return'. The video was produced by Driftwood Pictures Ltd., and was shot on location in Senegal and New York City. The video was directed by Trishul Thejasvi and produced by Yoni Gal. The video had its world premier at the Times BFI 51st London Film Festival in October, 2007.
In a 2013 interview with Midnight Raver, David Hinds indicated that a new studio album and documentary, tentatively titled Steel Pulse: The Definitive Story, would be released in 2014. However, on 10 July 2014 Midnight Raver reported that, according to Hinds, both the studio album and documentary will be delayed until at least 2015.
In anticipation to a new Steel Pulse album, the Roots Reggae Library has indexed two compilation albums of the latest Steel Pulse singles. The albums are called Positivity and Jah Way, both after tracknames on the albums
Alpha Blondy (born Seydou Koné; 1 January 1953 in Dimbokro, Ivory Coast) is a reggae singer and international recording artist. Many of his songs are politically and socially motivated, and are mainly sung in his native language of Dioula, French and in English, though he occasionally uses other languages, for example, Arabic or Hebrew.
Tabou Combo is a Haitian compas band that was founded in 1968 in Pétion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince. The orchestra has performed throughout the world (North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and especially in the Caribbean). Tabou Combo was the first Haitian band to perform in Japan, Ivory Coast, Senegal among others, and were named the "Official Panamanian Band" in Panama due to their popularity, while also becoming the first Caribbean band to have a number one single in the French Hit Parade. They dynamically sung their songs in both English, French, Spanish and in Haitian Creole. Tabou Combo refer to themselves as the "ambassadors of konpa.
In 1968, band founders Albert Jr. Chancy and Herman Nau, performed their first concert. At first they named themselves, Los Incognitos because they were virtually unknown, but soon changed it in to "Tabou Combo" the following year to better fit Haitian culture. That year, the band won "Best Musical Group of the Year" in a televised talent contest, gaining a national reputation in Haiti and the sight of a promising international career.[
History In 1968, band founders Albert Jr. Chancy and Herman Nau, performed their first concert. At first they named themselves, Los Incognitos because they were virtually unknown, but soon changed it in to "Tabou Combo" the following year to better fit Haitian culture. That year, the band won "Best Musical Group of the Year" in a televised talent contest, gaining a national reputation in Haiti and the sight of a promising international career.
Musical style Tabou Combo's musical repertoire, is a mixture of vodou ceremonial rara drums, Haiti's French colonial kontradans and quadrilles, African soukous and funk from the American soul era, while commanding a dominant presence of compas.
Kassav' is a Caribbean band formed in Guadeloupe in 1979. The core members of the band are Jocelyne Béroard, Jacob Desvarieux, Jean-Philippe Marthély, Patrick St. Eloi, Jean-Claude Naimro, Claude Vamur and Georges Décimus (who left to form Volte Face and returned). Kassav' have issued over 20 albums, with a further 12 solo albums by band members.
The music of Kassav is an extension of cadence-lypso or compas bands, such as Grammacks, Exile One, Les Aiglons and Experience 7 of the 1970s.
History Kassav' was formed in 1979 by Pierre-Edouard Décimus (former musicians from the Les Vikings de Guadeloupe) and Paris studio musician Jacob F. Desvarieux. Together and under the influence of well-known Dominican, Haitian and Guadeloupean kadans or compas bands like Experience 7, Grammacks, Exile One, Les Aiglons, Tabou Combo, Les Freres Dejean, Zekle, etc., they decided to make Guadeloupean carnival music recording it in a more fully orchestrated yet modern and polished style. The name of the band is Antillean Creole for a local dish made from cassava root.
Kassav', whose music repertoire is 90% compas, is the creator of the fast carnival zouk style. The French Antilles' Kassav' was the first to apply the MIDI technology to compas "digital compas".
Music of Guadeloupe and Martinique:
The gwo ka, traditional music of Guadeloupe, of which there are 7 versions (rhythmic). The bélé, traditional music from Martinique, of which there are 11 variants (rhythmic). The biguine music of Guadeloupe The chouval bwa, traditional music of Martinique associated with the city of Saint-Pierre. The mazurka and quadrille, European music of the French Antilles. The Compas, modern Haitian méringue popularized by Nemours Jean-Baptiste in 1955. The cadence rampa (kadans), alike compas, a modern Haitian méringue popularized by Webert Sicot in the very early 60s that spread to the Caribbean. The cadence-lypso of Dominica cadence popularized by Exile One with Gordon Henderson and also interpreted by groups such as Grammacks with Jeff Joseph as a senior member. Experience 7 was a Guadeloupean cadence band formed in the mid-1970s, led by Guy Houllier and Yves Honore. Most authors credit Décimus, his brother Georges, the band's bassist and Desvarieux as its inventors. Their first album, Love and Ka Dance (1980) had a good sound. The band gained popularity in their much-heralded live performances in Paris's Club Zenith and toured widely. For a band ostensibly operating in a "narrowly focused" Caribbean dance-based new genre, their success and influence on other artists was remarkable, although they were most influenced by a veritable cornucopia, of other styles as noted above.
Kassav' continued to gain popularity both as a group and by several members' solo recordings, eventually peaking in 1985 with Yélélé, which featured the international hit "Zouk la sé sèl médikaman nou ni" (meaning "Zouk is the only medicine we have" in French Antillean Creole). With this hit song, zouk rapidly became a widespread dance craze in Latin America and the Caribbean, and was popular in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Zouk performers became known for wildly theatrical concerts featuring special effects, stage spectacles and colorful costumes. One important contribution of Kassav' in concert was the appearance of featured dancers on stage with the band; these dancers were in many ways as much a part of the band as any musician. Kassav' has been noted by its acolytes and aficionados as a dance band par excellence.
Among the strengths of Kassav' that helped lead to the group's success were and are its members' superior musicianship, songwriting and production skills, and worldwide audiences eager for lively dance music more sophisticated than the disco/techno-based styles that otherwise dominated dance music charts in that era. The especially gravelly singing voice of Desvarieux, Décimus's driving bass, Naimro's and Joseph's inventive keyboards and superior drum-machine-based and Vamur's solid jazzf-inflected live percussion, along with dance party-inspiring simple French-creole lyrics are among unique Kassav' "trademarks". During his tenure with Kassav', St. Eloi's soaring vocals were another unique ingredient, and the romantic vocals of Marthely and Naimro's as well as Béroard's very strong vocals, a plethora of fun songs, and significant guest appearances including by Stevie Wonder and others are important parts of the Kassav' mix.
They have appeared with Admiral T, a famous reggae dancehall singer, and many other popular artists. Singer-songwriter/keyboardist Jean-Claude Naimro also appeared with world beat artist Peter Gabriel. Lead vocalist Jocelyne Béroard has also had a number of successes both solo and as a guest with other artists, being the first woman artist in the Caribbean to win certain music awards; she continues to perform with Kassav' and as a solo artist.
Jocelyne Béroard's stunning "amateur" photography of natural scenes and people seen from her unique traveling-artist perspective's island-paradise visuals could be cited among their songs' inspirations. The band's songs with a "political" edge or insinuation are typically double-entendre in the African-American and calypsonian traditions well known in Caribbean dance music from which the music of Kassav' evolved.
Kassav' released another compas CD in 2007: All U Need Is Zouk to substantial acclaim with another successful world tour. Nearly 30 years later the same musicians are still arguably great performers .
Originally formed solely of Guadeloupean artists (Decimus, Desvarieux, St-Eloi), within a few years Kassav' also embraced band members of Martinican ancestry (Béroard, Naimro, Marthely); their music is mostly compas that delved deep into synthesized sounds after exploring many acoustic timbres, with rhythms based fundamentally in a gwo ka (French Caribbean folkloric drumming/chanting) context, especially in earlier recordings. It has been suggested that their success was largely outside of the large U.S. music market due to a nearly total absence of English lyrics; instead, they use a very localized version of Créole Français unique to Guadeloupe and Martinique, very distinct from European French or even Haitian French Kreyòl. Their choice of language however did not limit their artistic vision, and it remains carnival-like and eminently danceable; the success of Kassav' is ongoing in the 2010s.