Blues is a music genre and musical form, originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs and the folk music of white Americans of European heritage. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and rhymed simple narrative ballads; the blues form, ubiquitous in jazz 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. Blue notes thirds or fifths flattened in pitch, are an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove. Blues as a genre is characterized by its lyrics, bass lines, instrumentation. Early traditional blues verses consisted of a single line repeated four times, it was only in the first decades of the 20th century that the most common current structure became standard: the AAB pattern, consisting of a line sung over the four first bars, its repetition over the next four, a longer concluding line over the last bars.
Early blues took the form of a loose narrative relating the racial discrimination and other challenges experienced by African-Americans. Many elements, such as the call-and-response format and the use of blue notes, can be traced back to the music of Africa; the origins of the blues are closely related to the religious music of the Afro-American community, the spirituals. The first appearance of the blues is dated to after the ending of slavery and the development of juke joints, it is associated with the newly acquired freedom of the former slaves. Chroniclers began to report about blues music at the dawn of the 20th century; the first publication of blues sheet music was in 1908. Blues has since evolved from unaccompanied vocal music and oral traditions of slaves into a wide variety of styles and subgenres. Blues subgenres include country blues, such as Delta blues and Piedmont blues, as well as urban blues styles such as Chicago blues and West Coast blues. World War II marked the transition from acoustic to electric blues and the progressive opening of blues music to a wider audience white listeners.
In the 1960s and 1970s, a hybrid form called blues rock developed, which blended blues styles with rock music. The term Blues may have come from "blue devils", meaning sadness; the phrase blue devils may have been derived from Britain in the 1600s, when the term referred to the "intense visual hallucinations that can accompany severe alcohol withdrawal". As time went on, the phrase lost the reference to devils, "it came to mean a state of agitation or depression." By the 1800s in the United States, the term blues was associated with drinking alcohol, a meaning which survives in the phrase blue law, which prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday. Though the use of the phrase in African-American music may be older, it has been attested to in print since 1912, when Hart Wand's "Dallas Blues" became the first copyrighted blues composition. In lyrics the phrase is used to describe a depressed mood, it is in this sense of a sad state of mind that one of the earliest recorded references to "the blues" was written by Charlotte Forten aged 25, in her diary on December 14, 1862.
She was a free-born black from Pennsylvania, working as a schoolteacher in South Carolina, instructing both slaves and freedmen, wrote that she "came home with the blues" because she felt lonesome and pitied herself. She overcame her depression and noted a number of songs, such as Poor Rosy, that were popular among the slaves. Although she admitted being unable to describe the manner of singing she heard, Forten wrote that the songs "can't be sung without a full heart and a troubled spirit", conditions that have inspired countless blues songs; the lyrics of early traditional blues verses often consisted of a single line repeated four times. It was only in the first decades of the 20th century that the most common current structure became standard: the so-called "AAB" pattern, consisting of a line sung over the four first bars, its repetition over the next four, a longer concluding line over the last bars. Two of the first published blues songs, "Dallas Blues" and "Saint Louis Blues", were 12-bar blues with the AAB lyric structure.
W. C. Handy wrote; the lines are sung following a pattern closer to rhythmic talk than to a melody. Early blues took the form of a loose narrative. African-American singers voiced his or her "personal woes in a world of harsh reality: a lost love, the cruelty of police officers, oppression at the hands of white folk, hard times"; this melancholy has led to the suggestion of an Igbo origin for blues because of the reputation the Igbo had throughout plantations in the Americas for their melancholic music and outlook on life when they were enslaved. The lyrics relate troubles experienced within African American society. For instance Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Rising High Water Blues" tells of the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927: "Backwater rising, Southern peoples can't make no time I said, backwater rising, Southern peoples can't make no time And I can't get no hearing from that Memphis girl of mine."Although the blues gained an association with misery and oppression, the lyrics could be humorous and raunchy: "Rebecca, get your big legs off of me, Rebecca, get your big legs off of m
Dixieland, sometimes referred to as hot jazz or traditional jazz, is a style of jazz based on the music that developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century. One of the first uses of the term "Dixieland" with reference to music was in the name of the Original Dixieland Jass Band, their 1917 recordings fostered popular awareness of this new style of music. A revival movement for traditional jazz, formed in reaction to the orchestrated sounds of the swing era and the perceived chaos of the new bebop sounds of the 1940s, pulled "Dixieland" out from the somewhat forgotten band's name for the music they championed; the revival movement included elements of the Chicago style that developed during the 1920s, such as the use of a string bass instead of a tuba, chordal instruments, in addition to the original format of the New Orleans style. That reflected the fact that all of the recorded repertoire of New Orleans musicians was from the period when the format was evolving beyond the traditional New Orleans format.
"Dixieland" may in that sense be regarded as denoting the jazz revival movement of the late 1930s to the 1950s as much as any particular subgenre of jazz. The essential elements that were accepted as within the style were the traditional front lines consisting of trumpets and clarinets, ensemble improvisation over a 2-beat rhythm; the Original Dixieland Jass Band, recording its first disc in 1917, was the first instance of jazz music being called "Dixieland", though at the time, the term referred to the band, not the genre. The band's sound was a combination of African American/New Orleans Sicilian music; the music of Sicily was one of the many genres in the New Orleans music scene during the 1910s, alongside sanctified church music, brass band music and blues. Much the term "Dixieland" was applied to early jazz by traditional jazz revivalists, starting in the 1940s and 1950s; the name is a reference to the "Old South" anything south of the Mason-Dixon line. The term encompasses earlier brass band marches, French Quadrilles, biguine and blues with collective, polyphonic improvisation.
While instrumentation and size of bands can be flexible, the "standard" band consists of a "front line" of trumpet and clarinet, with a "rhythm section" of at least two of the following instruments: guitar or banjo, string bass or tuba and drums. Louis Armstrong's All-Stars was the band most popularly identified with Dixieland during the 1940s, although Armstrong's own influence during the 1920s was to move the music beyond the traditional New Orleans style; the definitive Dixieland sound is created when one instrument plays the melody or a recognizable paraphrase or variation on it, the other instruments of the "front line" improvise around that melody. This creates a more polyphonic sound than the arranged ensemble playing of the big band sound or the straight "head" melodies of bebop. During the 1930s and 1940s, the earlier group-improvisation style fell out of favor with the majority of younger black players, while some older players of both races continued on in the older style. Though younger musicians developed new forms, many beboppers revered Armstrong and quoted fragments of his recorded music in their own improvisations.
The Dixieland revival in the late 1940s and 1950s brought many semi-retired musicians a measure of fame late in their lives as well as bringing retired musicians back onto the jazz circuit after years of not playing. Many Dixieland groups of the revival era consciously imitated the recordings and bands of decades earlier. Other musicians continued to create new tunes. For example, in the 1950s a style called "Progressive Dixieland" sought to blend polyphonic improvisation with bebop-style rhythm. Spike Jones & His New Band and Steve Lacy played with such bands; this style is sometimes called "Dixie-bop". Lacy went on to apply that approach to the music of Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, Herbie Nichols. While the term Dixieland is still in wide use, the term's appropriateness is a hotly debated topic in some circles. For some it is the preferred label, while others would rather use terms like Classic jazz or Traditional jazz; some of the latter consider Dixieland a derogatory term implying superficial hokum played without passion or deep understanding of the music and because "Dixie" is a reference to pre-Civil War Southern States.
Many black musicians have traditionally rejected the term as a style distinctive from traditional jazz, characterized by the staccatic playing in all-white groups such as The Original Dixieland Jazz Band in contrast to the slower, syncopated back-beat style of playing characterized by musicians like King Oliver or Kid Ory. Dixieland is today applied to bands playing in a traditional style. Bands such as those of Eddie Condon and Muggsy Spanier were tagged with the Dixieland label, reflecting the grouping of the Chicago and New Orleans styles of traditional jazz under the same label. "Chicago style" is applied to the sound of Chicagoans such as Jimmy McPartland, Eddie Condon, Muggsy Spanier, Bud Freeman. The rhythm sections of these bands substitute the string bass for the tuba and the guitar for the banjo. Musically, the Chicagoans play in more of a swing-style 4-to-the-bar manner; the New Orleanian preference for an ensemble sound is deemphasized in favor of solos. Chicago-style dixieland differs from its southern origin by being faster paced, resembling the hustle-bu
William James "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist and composer. In 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording, he led the group for 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two "split" tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, others. Many musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing, Helen Humes, Thelma Carpenter, Joe Williams. William Basie was born to Harvey Lee Basie in Red Bank, New Jersey, his father worked as a caretaker for a wealthy judge. After automobiles replaced horses, his father became a groundskeeper and handyman for several wealthy families in the area. Both of his parents had some type of musical background.
His father played the mellophone, his mother played the piano. She took in laundry and baked cakes for sale for a living, she paid 25 cents a lesson for Count Basie's piano instruction. Not much of a student in school, Basie dreamed of a traveling life, inspired by touring carnivals which came to town, he finished junior high school but spent much of his time at the Palace Theater in Red Bank, where doing occasional chores gained him free admission to performances. He learned to improvise music appropriate to the acts and the silent movies. Though a natural at the piano, Basie preferred drums. Discouraged by the obvious talents of Sonny Greer, who lived in Red Bank and became Duke Ellington's drummer in 1919, Basie at age 15 switched to piano exclusively. Greer and Basie played together in venues. By Basie was playing with pick-up groups for dances and amateur shows, including Harry Richardson's "Kings of Syncopation"; when not playing a gig, he hung out at the local pool hall with other musicians, where he picked up on upcoming play dates and gossip.
He got some jobs in Asbury Park at the Jersey Shore, played at the Hong Kong Inn until a better player took his place. Around 1920, Basie went to Harlem, a hotbed of jazz, where he lived down the block from the Alhambra Theater. Early after his arrival, he bumped into Sonny Greer, by the drummer for the Washingtonians, Duke Ellington's early band. Soon, Basie met many of the Harlem musicians who were "making the scene," including Willie "the Lion" Smith and James P. Johnson. Basie toured in several acts between 1925 and 1927, including Katie Krippen and Her Kiddies as part of the Hippity Hop show, his touring took him to Kansas City, St. Louis, New Orleans, Chicago. Throughout his tours, Basie met many jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong. Before he was 20 years old, he toured extensively on the Keith and TOBA vaudeville circuits as a solo pianist and music director for blues singers and comedians; this provided an early training, to prove significant in his career. Back in Harlem in 1925, Basie gained his first steady job at Leroy's, a place known for its piano players and its "cutting contests."
The place catered to "uptown celebrities," and the band winged every number without sheet music using "head arrangements." He met Fats Waller, playing organ at the Lincoln Theater accompanying silent movies, Waller taught him how to play that instrument.. As he did with Duke Ellington, Willie "the Lion" Smith helped Basie out during the lean times by arranging gigs at "house-rent parties," introducing him to other leading musicians, teaching him some piano technique. In 1928, Basie was in Tulsa and heard Walter Page and his Famous Blue Devils, one of the first big bands, which featured Jimmy Rushing on vocals. A few months he was invited to join the band, which played in Texas and Oklahoma, it was at this time. The following year, in 1929, Basie became the pianist with the Bennie Moten band based in Kansas City, inspired by Moten's ambition to raise his band to the level of Duke Ellington's or Fletcher Henderson's. Where the Blue Devils were "snappier" and more "bluesy," the Moten band was more refined and respected, playing in the "Kansas City stomp" style.
In addition to playing piano, Basie was co-arranger with Eddie Durham. Their "Moten Swing", which Basie claimed credit for, was acclaimed and was an invaluable contribution to the development of swing music, at one performance at the Pearl Theatre in Philadelphia in December 1932, the theatre opened its door to allow anybody in who wanted to hear the band perform. During a stay in Chicago, Basie recorded with the band, he played four-hand piano and dual pianos with Moten, who conducted. The band improved with several personnel changes, including the addition of tenor saxophonist Ben Webster; when the band voted Moten out, Basie took over for several months, calling the group "Count Basie and his Cherry Blossoms." When his own band folded, he rejoined Moten with a newly re-organized band. A year Basie joined Bennie Moten's band, played with them until Moten's death in 1935 from a failed tonsillectomy; when Moten died, the band tried to stay together but couldn't make a go of it
Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music that originated in the late 1920s in the West and South among the region's Western string bands. It is dance music with an up-tempo beat, which attracted huge crowds to dance halls and clubs in Texas and California during the 1930s and 1940s until a federal war-time nightclub tax in 1944 contributed to the genre's decline; the movement was an outgrowth of jazz. The music is an amalgamation of rural, polka, Dixieland jazz and blues blended with swing; the electrically amplified stringed instruments the steel guitar, give the music a distinctive sound. Incarnations have included overtones of bebop. Western swing differs in several ways from the music played by the nationally popular horn-driven big swing bands of the same era. In Western bands fully orchestrated bands and other instruments followed the fiddle's lead. Additionally, although popular horn bands tended to arrange and score their music, most Western bands improvised either by soloists or collectively.
Prominent groups during the peak of Western swing's popularity included The Light Crust Doughboys, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies, Spade Cooley and His Orchestra and Hank Thompson And His Brazos Valley Boys. Contemporary groups include the Hot Club of Cowtown. According to Merle Travis, "Western swing is nothing more than a group of talented country boys, unschooled in music, but playing the music they feel, beating a solid two-four rhythm to the harmonies that buzz around their brains; when it escapes in all its musical glory, my friend, you have Western swing." Western swing in its beginnings was just dance music. The term swing, meaning big band dance music, wasn't used until after the 1932 hit "It Don't Mean a Thing". Recording companies came up with several names before World War II trying to market it—hillbilly, old-time music, novelty hot dance, hot string band, Texas swing for music coming out of Texas and Louisiana. Most of the big Western dance bandleaders referred to themselves as Western bands and their music as Western dance music, many adamantly refusing the hillbilly label.
Bob Wills and others believed the term Western swing was used for his music while he and his band were still in Tulsa, Oklahoma between 1939 and 1942. The Los Angeles-area Wilmington Press carried ads for an unidentified "Western Swing Orchestra" at a local nightspot in April 1942; that winter, influential LA-area jazz and swing disc jockey Al Jarvis held a radio contest for top popular band leaders. The winner would be named "the King of Swing"; when Spade Cooley unexpectedly received the most votes, besting Benny Goodman and Harry James, Jarvis declared Cooley to be the King of Western Swing. On the other hand, The Billboard, in its January 29, 1944 issue, reported Cooley came fourth in the orchestra section, behind Sammy Kaye, Freddie Martin, Jimmy Dorsey. Around 1942, Cooley's promoter, disc jockey "Foreman" Phillips, began using "Western swing" to advertise his client; the first known use of the term Western swing in a national periodical was the June 10, 1944 issue of The Billboard: "...what with the trend to Western music in this section, Cooley's Western swing band is a natural....
Music is not the true Western type... Dancers can foxtrot or do a slow jitter to it." A more known "first use" was an October 1944 Billboard item mentioning a forthcoming songbook by Cooley titled Western Swing. This, however was preceded by this item on page 11 of the May 1944 Billboard. "Spade Cooley, who moved in with his Western swing boys several months ago, has released the Breakfast Club. Cooley moved up from Phillips' County barn dances at Venice, Calif. ballroom, where he was featured for 74 weeks."After that, the music was known as Western swing. Western swing began in the dance halls of small towns throughout the lower Great Plains in the late 1920s and early 1930s, growing from house parties and ranch dances where fiddlers and guitarists played for dancers. During its early development, scores of groups from San Antonio to Shreveport to Oklahoma City played different songs with the same basic sound. Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers out of Terrell in East Texas, the East Texas Serenaders in Lindale, both added jazz elements to traditional music in the half of the 1920s through the early 1930s.
Fred "Papa" Calhoun recalled that around 1930, he played in a band in Decatur, Texas that played "a lot of swing stuff like the Louisiana Five was playing back in those days. We liked Red Nichols and Bix Beiderbecke." In the early 1930s, Bob Wills and Milton Brown co-founded the string band that became the Light Crust Doughboys, the first professional band in this genre. The group, with Fred "Papa" Calhoun on piano, was heard on radio. Photographs of the Light Crust Doughboys taken as early as 1931 show two guitars along with fiddle player Wills. On February 9, 1932, his brother Derwood, Bob Wills, C. G. "Sleepy" Johnson were recorded by Victor Records at the Jefferson Hotel in Dallas, Texas under the name The Fort Worth Doughboys. Derwood Brown played Johnson played tenor guitar. Both "Sunbonnet Sue" and "Nancy Jane" were recorded that day; the record was released by Victor, Blue Bird, Montgomery Ward, Sunrise. Montgomery Ward credited "Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies"; when Brown left the Doughboys in 1932, he took his brother to play rhythm guitar in what became The Musical Brownies.
In January 1933, fiddler Cecil Brower, playing harmony, joined Jesse Ashlock to crea
Norma Deloris Egstrom, known professionally as Peggy Lee, was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter and actress, in a career spanning six decades. From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, she forged a sophisticated persona, evolving into a multi-faceted artist and performer. During her career, she wrote music for films and recorded conceptual record albums that combined poetry and music. Lee was born Norma Deloris Egstrom in Jamestown, North Dakota, the seventh of eight children to parents Marvin Olof Egstrom, a station agent for the Midland Continental Railroad, his wife, Selma Amelia Egstrom, on May 26, 1920, she and her family were Lutherans. Her father was Swedish-American and her mother was Norwegian-American. After her mother died when Lee was four, her father married Minnie Schaumberg Wiese. Lee first sang professionally over KOVC radio in North Dakota, she had her own series on a radio show sponsored by a local restaurant that paid her a salary in food.
Both during and after her high school years, Lee sang for small sums on local radio stations. Radio personality Ken Kennedy, of WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota, changed her name from Norma to Peggy Lee. Lee left home and traveled to Los Angeles at the age of 17, she returned to North Dakota for a tonsillectomy and was noticed by hotel owner Frank Bering while working at the Doll House in Palm Springs, California. It was here that she developed her trademark sultry purr, having decided to compete with the noisy crowd with subtlety rather than volume. Beringin offered her a gig at The Buttery Room, a nightclub in the Ambassador Hotel East in Chicago. There, she was noticed by bandleader Benny Goodman. According to Lee, "Benny's then-fiancée, Lady Alice Duckworth, came into The Buttery, she was impressed. So the next evening she brought Benny in, because they were looking for a replacement for Helen Forrest, and although I didn't know, I was it. He was looking at me strangely, I thought, but it was just his preoccupied way of looking.
I thought that he didn't like me at first, but it just was that he was preoccupied with what he was hearing." She stayed for two years. In 1942 Lee had her first No. 1 hit, "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place", followed by 1943's "Why Don't You Do Right?" which sold over 1 million copies and made her famous. She sang with Goodman's orchestra in Stage Door Canteen and The Powers Girl. In March 1943 Lee married Dave Barbour, a guitarist in Goodman's band. Lee said, "David joined Benny's band and there was a ruling that no one should fraternize with the girl singer, but I fell in love with David the first time I heard him play, so I married him. Benny fired David, so I quit, too. Benny and I made up. Benny stuck to his rule. I think that's not too bad a rule, but you can't help falling in love with somebody."...when she left the band that spring, her intention was to quit the footlights altogether and become Mrs. Barbour, fulltime housewife. It's to Mr. Barbour's credit that he refused to let his wife's singing and composing talent lay dormant for too long.
"I fell in love with David Barbour," she recalled. "But'Why Don't You Do Right' was such a giant hit that I kept getting offers and kept turning them down. And at that time it was a lot of money, but it didn't matter to me at all. I was happy. All I wanted was to cling to the children. Well, they kept talking to me and David joined them and said'You have too much talent to stay at home and someday you might regret it.'" She drifted back to songwriting and occasional recording sessions for the Capitol Records in 1947, for whom she recorded a long string of hits, many of them with lyrics and music by Lee and Barbour, including "I Don't Know Enough About You" and "It's a Good Day". With the release of the US No. 1-selling record of 1948, "Mañana", her "retirement" was over. In 1948, Lee's work was part of Capitol's library of electrical transcriptions for radio stations. An ad for Capitol Transcriptions in a trade magazine noted that the transcriptions included "special voice introductions by Peggy."In 1948 Lee joined vocalists Perry Como and Jo Stafford as a host of the NBC Radio musical program The Chesterfield Supper Club.
She was a regular on The Jimmy Durante Show and appeared on Bing Crosby's radio shows during the late 1940s and early 1950s. She recorded a popular version of "Fever" by Little Willie John, written by Eddie Cooley and John Davenport, to which she added her uncopyrighted lyrics, her relationship with Capitol spanned three decades aside from a brief detour at Decca. For that label she recorded Black Coffee, one of her most acclaimed albums and had hit singles such as "Lover" and "Mister Wonderful". In 1952, Lee starred opposite Danny Thomas in The Jazz Singer, a remake of the Al Jolson film The Jazz Singer, she played an alcoholic blues singer in Pete Kelly's Blues, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She provided speaking and singing voices for several characters in the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp, playing the human "Darling", the dog "Peg", the two Siamese cats, "Si and Am". In 1957, she guest starred on the short-lived variety program The Guy Mitchell Show.
Lee was married four times: to guitarist and composer Dave Barbour, actor Brad Dexter, actor Dewey Martin, percussionist Jack Del Rio. All the marriages en
Chester Arthur Burnett, known as Howlin' Wolf, was a Chicago blues singer and harmonica player from Mississippi. With a booming voice and imposing physical presence, he is one of the best-known Chicago blues artists; the musician and critic Cub Koda noted, "no one could match Howlin' Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while scaring its patrons out of its wits." Producer Sam Phillips recalled, ``, I said, ` This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies.'" Several of his songs, including "Smokestack Lightnin'", "Killing Floor" and "Spoonful", have become blues and blues rock standards. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him number 54 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". Burnett was born on June 10, 1910, in White Station, near West Point, he was given the name Chester Arthur, after Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, his physique garnered him the nicknames "Big Foot Chester" and "Bull Cow" as a young man: he was 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighed close to 300 pounds.
He explained the origin of the name Howlin' Wolf: "I got that from my grandfather", who would tell him stories about wolves in that part of the country and warn him that if he misbehaved the "howling wolves" would get him. The blues historian Paul Oliver wrote that Burnett once claimed to have been given his nickname by his idol Jimmie Rodgers. Burnett's parents separated, his mother, threw him out of the house when he was a child for refusing to work on the farm. He moved in with his uncle, Will Young, who treated him badly; when he was thirteen, he ran away and claimed to have walked 85 miles barefoot to join his father, where he found a happy home with his father's large family. At the peak of his success, he returned from Chicago to see his mother in Mississippi and was driven to tears when she rebuffed him: she refused to take money offered by him, saying it was from his playing the "devil's music". In 1930, Burnett met the most popular bluesman in the Mississippi Delta at the time, he would listen to Patton play nightly from outside a nearby juke joint.
There he remembered Patton playing "Pony Blues", "High Water Everywhere", "A Spoonful Blues", "Banty Rooster Blues". The two became acquainted, soon Patton was teaching him guitar. Burnett recalled that "the first piece I played in my life was... a tune about hook up my pony and saddle up my black mare"—Patton's "Pony Blues". He learned about showmanship from Patton: "When he played his guitar, he would turn it over backwards and forwards, throw it around over his shoulders, between his legs, throw it up in the sky". Burnett would perform the guitar tricks, he played with Patton in small Delta communities. Burnett was influenced by other popular blues performers of the time, including the Mississippi Sheiks, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Ma Rainey, Lonnie Johnson, Tampa Red, Blind Blake, Tommy Johnson. Two of the earliest songs he mastered were Jefferson's "Match Box Blues" and Leroy Carr's "How Long, How Long Blues"; the country singer Jimmie Rodgers was an influence. Burnett tried to emulate Rodgers's "blue yodel" but found that his efforts sounded more like a growl or a howl: "I couldn't do no yodelin', so I turned to howlin'.
And it's done me just fine". His harmonica playing was modeled after that of Sonny Boy Williamson II, who taught him how to play when Burnett moved to Parkin, Arkansas, in 1933. During the 1930s, Burnett performed in the South as a solo performer and with numerous blues musicians, including Floyd Jones, Johnny Shines, Honeyboy Edwards, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Robert Johnson, Robert Lockwood, Jr. Willie Brown, Son House and Willie Johnson. By the end of the decade, he was a fixture in clubs, with an early electric guitar. On April 9, 1941, he was inducted into the U. S. Army and was stationed at several bases around the country. Finding it difficult to adjust to military life, he was discharged on November 3, 1943, he returned to his family, who had moved near West Memphis and helped with the farming while performing, as he had done in the 1930s, with Floyd Jones and others. In 1948 he formed a band, which included the guitarists Willie Johnson and Matt "Guitar" Murphy, the harmonica player Junior Parker, a pianist remembered only as "Destruction" and the drummer Willie Steele.
Radio station KWEM in West Memphis began broadcasting his live performances, he sat in with Williamson on KFFA in Helena, Arkansas. In 1951, Howlin' Wolf was scouted by Ike Turner to record several songs for Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service. Phillips praised his singing, saying, "God, what it would be worth on film to see the fervour in that man's face when he sang, his eyes would light up, you'd see the veins come out on his neck and, there was nothing on his mind but that song. He sang with his damn soul." Howlin' Wolf became a local celebrity and began working with a band that included the guitarists Willie Johnson and Pat Hare. His first singles were issued by two different record companies in 1951: "How Many More Years" backed with "Moaning at Midnight", released by Chess Records, "Riding in the Moonlight" backed with "Moaning at Midnight", released by RPM Records. Leonard Chess was able to secure his contract, Howlin' Wolf relocated to Chicago in 1952. There he assembled a new band and recruited the Chicagoan Jody Williams from Memphis Slim's band as his first guitarist.
Within a year he had persuaded the guitarist Hubert Sumlin to join him in Chicago.
Swing music, or swing, is a form of popular music developed in the United States that dominated in the 1930s and 1940s. The name swing came from the'swing feel' where the emphasis is on the off–beat or weaker pulse in the music. Swing bands featured soloists who would improvise on the melody over the arrangement; the danceable swing style of big bands and bandleaders such as Benny Goodman was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1946, a period known as the swing era. The verb "to swing" is used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong groove or drive. Notable musicians of the swing era include Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima, Larry Clinton, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Harry James, Louis Jordan, Cab Calloway. Swing has roots in the 1920s as larger dance music ensembles began using new styles of written arrangements incorporating rhythmic innovations pioneered by Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines.
A typical song played in swing style would feature a strong, anchoring rhythm section in support of more loosely tied wind and brass. The most common style consisted of theme choruses and choruses with improvised solos within the framework of his bandmates playing support. Swing music began to decline in popularity during World War II because of several factors. Swing influenced the styles of traditional pop music, jump blues, bebop jazz. Swing music saw a revival in the late 1950s and 1960s with the resurgent Count Basie and Duke Ellington orchestras, with pop vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Swing blended with other genres to create new music styles. In country music, artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, Moon Mullican and Bob Wills introduced many elements of swing along with blues to create a genre called western swing. Gypsy swing is Lang's jazz violin swing. Swing revivals have occurred periodically from the late 1960s to the 2000s. In the late-1980s a trendier, more urban-styled swing-beat emerged called new jack swing, spearheaded by Teddy Riley.
In the late 1990s and into the 2000s there was a swing revival, led by Squirrel Nut Zippers, Brian Setzer, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Lavay Smith. In Canada, some of the early 2000s records by The JW-Jones Blues Band included swing revival elements. Developments in dance orchestra and jazz music during the 1920s both contributed to the development of the 1930s swing style. Starting in 1923, the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra featured innovative arrangements by Don Redman that featured call-response interplay between brass and reed sections, interludes arranged to back up soloists; the arrangements had a smoother rhythmic sense than the ragtime-influenced arrangements that were the more typical "hot" dance music of the day. In 1924 Louis Armstrong joined the Henderson band, lending impetus to an greater emphasis on soloists; the Henderson band featured Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Buster Bailey as soloists, who all were influential in the development of swing era instrumental styles. During the Henderson band's extended residency at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, it became influential on other big bands.
Duke Ellington credited the Henderson band with being an early influence when he was developing the sound for his own band. In 1925 Armstrong left the Henderson band and would add his innovations to New Orleans style jazz to develop Chicago style jazz, another step towards swing. Traditional New Orleans style jazz was based on a two-beat meter and contrapuntal improvisation led by a trumpet or cornet followed by a clarinet and trombone in a call-response pattern; the rhythm section consisted of a sousaphone and drums, sometimes a banjo. By the early 1920s guitars and pianos sometimes substituted for the banjo and a string bass sometimes substituted for the sousaphone. Use of the string bass opened possibilities for 4/4 instead of 2/4 time at faster tempos, which increased rhythmic freedom; the Chicago style released the soloist from the constraints of contrapuntal improvisation with other front-line instruments, lending greater freedom in creating melodic lines. Louis Armstrong used the additional freedom of the new format with 4/4 time, accenting the second and fourth beats and anticipating the main beats with lead-in notes in his solos to create a sense of rhythmic pulse that happened between the beats as well as on them, i.e. swing.
In 1927 Armstrong worked with pianist Earl Hines, who had a similar impact on his instrument as Armstrong had on trumpet. Hines' melodic, horn-like conception of playing deviated from the contemporary conventions in jazz piano centered on building rhythmic patterns around "pivot notes." His approaches to rhythm and phrasing were free and daring, exploring ideas that would define swing playing. His approach to rhythm used accents on the lead-in instead of the main beat, mixed meters, to build a sense of anticipation to the rhythm and make his playing swing, he used "stops" or musical silences to build tension in his phrasing. Hines' style was a seminal influence on the styles of swing-era pianists Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, Jess Stacy, Nat "King" Cole, Erroll Garner, Mary Lou Williams, Jay McShann. Black territory dance bands in the southwest were developing dynamic styles that went in the direction of blues-based simplicity, using riffs in a call-response pattern to build a strong, danceable rhythm and provide a musical platform for extended solos.
The rhythm-heavy tunes for dancing were called "stomps." The requirement for volume led to continued use of the sousaphone over the string bass with the larger ensembles, which dictated a more conservative approach to rhythm based on 2/4 time signatures. Meanwhile, string bass player