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Chapter
16
R and B, Singers, and Latin Jazz
Overview

Fusion is a different narrative for understanding jazz. It perceives jazz to be in a constant dialogue with the “popular,” whether in dance grooves or popular song. We begin this chapter by considering the “jump music” of Louis Jordan in the 1940s. By the 1950s, musicians began to realize that jazz had lost its touch and tried connecting with new currents in pop music, especially those who (like Ray Charles) defined new archetypes of “blackness.” We consider “soul jazz,” which aggressively sought to situate jazz improvisation in new grooves, and examine the organ trios (featuring the Hammond B-3) that filled nightclubs in black neighborhoods. We also consider the relationship between jazz and the pop singing of Frank Sinatra, Nat Cole, and Sarah Vaughan. We look at the use of jazz in music for film and television, where jazz becomes a symbol for urban tension, and examine the Latin jazz phenomenon (including bossa nova), where jazz develops a working kinship with an entirely different dance groove.

  • Jimmy Smith, The Organ Grinder’s Swing
  • Frank Sinatra, The Birth of the Blues
  • Sarah Vaughan, Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home?
  • Dizzy Gillespie, Manteca
  • Mongo Santamaria, Watermelon Man
  • Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd, Samba Dees Days

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