The Original "Blues Brothers"
Jump Blues has it's roots deeply embedded in the history of Afro-American Blues traditions. The Blue's styling and beat can be traced back as far as the 1890's, tracing its beginnings from America's deep southern rural communities. Between the 1930's and 40's the blues style was transferred from the rural population to urban dwellers, through the migration of working folk from the surrounding countryside to the cities in the Mississippi River Delta region. Once these Blues musicians learned how to "hook-up" their voices and instruments to amplifiers, through the advent of electricity, the blues sound started to take on a whole new dimension.
After the Delta...
Around the late 1940's things really started to sizzle. Post World War II America saw the development of new recording techniques. Radio broadcasting of live performances was the "state-of-the-art". These broadcasts were actually more popular than Records, CD's and Television Programs are today, at least as far as the music was concerned. Bebop was revolutionizing the Jazz scene in New York. Chess Records of Chicago, with Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Rodgers and Willie Dixon, et al, were making blues history that is still the basic stratum today.
"Swing" bands, from Kansas City to California, were "wailing"
with this "new sound". They toured the country from one end to the other.
Along the way they created new dance steps and rhythms, building up
a huge following. Thousands of faithful fans flocked wherever they went!
Maybe some of them were your parents, maybe some of them were. . . you.
Out of Swing came.
JUMP. . . Yeah, Jump... it usually consisted of a combination of 5 to 10 instruments - Upright String Bass, Drums, Guitar, Piano, sometimes Horns and of course, a Dynamic Vocalist! Check this scene out... On the CD "BIG NOISE" the title song uses only the Upright String Bass, Drums and Scat Vocals to create the basic sound that epitomizes Jump in it's purist form. These instruments were essential in building the foundation of Jump Blues music, and were used to define the form and feel of the music that we know today as "JUMP".
Who could forget the power and feeling of "Big Joe" Turner, Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, Roy Brown, T-Bone Walker and B.B. King. It was a happening' thang. JUMP had it all - it was (and is) able to blend many different musical styles, colors & textures. It is a canvas upon which one is able to paint clear and pure, color with tone. Many, were the times that the great artists from the orchestras of Count Basie and Duke Ellington would sit in on these small combo settings during recording sessions. Surely this was due to their love for the simplicity, purity and clarity of the Jump sound. One artist that was a part of that era is tenor sax player "Big Jay" McNeely, he is featured on the CD "SAY MAN!" blowing on such songs as "Ain't No Rockin No More" and the bluesy, smokey, "If the Phone Don't Ring". The feeling is still alive, you just can't kill JUMP.
Rockabilly, a mix of Country and Swing, is actually just another variant of Jump. Many of the early 1950's Elvis recordings were a great example of this style. Back then, Tulsa was Jumping' with Bob Wills & his "Texas Playboys" a blend of Swing and Country. This variation used many of the same basic tempos and rythyms that were the basic tenents of jump music. Using the Upright String Bass, Drums, Piano, the Lap Steel Guitar, along with a strong dynamic vocalist, they built just as much a following as the Jump Blues artists did in the rest of the country. A song called "Was It Something I Said" is an excellent example of this style of "Rockabilly" Jump. You can also check this cut out on the CD - "BIG NOISE".
Right Now !
The tradition continues through the artists and instruments
of today. Like all art, you can take the original beauty of the form, borrow
from it, respect, play, and continue to evolve it, using today's technology
to create new variations while still maintaining that great feeling called