Complete 2 pages APA formatted article: Hard Bob, Funky, Gospel Jazz Music. Black Gospel Music or Soul Jazz emerged from the ashes of the African American slave culture, which was musically expressed

Complete 2 pages APA formatted article: Hard Bob, Funky, Gospel Jazz Music. Black Gospel Music or Soul Jazz emerged from the ashes of the African American slave culture, which was musically expressed through spiritual songs about freedom and their homeland in Africa. The slave songs of long ago had a particular rhythm and melody that resembled much of Western African native music. These “spirituals,” combined with earlier hymns and performances of post-slavery days, developed the Black Gospel Music. Gospel Music by that time was already a renowned genre, but there were contextual and cultural variations within its scope, one of which was the Black rendition. Generally, however, Gospel Music themes covered areas of Christian religious worship, praise and thanksgiving to the Holy Trinity. There were several main characteristic of Black Gospel Music that distinguished it from other Gospels. Throughout the years since its development, many artists have also sprung and they not only contributed to its development, but took this particular subgenre into the next level.

Black Gospel, also called Urban Contemporary Gospel, like the mainstream genre it belonged to, sought to express the collective Christian beliefs of the community. It was deemed the Christianized version of the mainstream modern music of the earlier half of the 20th century. Though the themes were somewhat fixed, the main characteristics of this subgenre changed throughout the years. Tempo and beat often differed according to the taste of the artists and the particular music era they belonged to. For instance, in the early years of its conception (1920s-1940s), Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father of Gospel Music, along with pioneer singers Willie Mae Ford Smith and Sallie Martin, popularized Black Gospel by mixing elements of Blues or Spirituals with the Christian religious experience (Petrie). With “happiness” as the prime element in testifying a religious experience, there was a good deal of dancing (mainly employing the Boogie-Woogie style to the accompaniment of Jazz instruments). In the 1930s, the religiosity of Gospel Music mingled with political and social commentaries as popularized by male groups called quartets, who usually sang A Cappella and in jubilee style. Unlike the less lively hymns of the 20s, groups such as the Soul Stirrers and the Golden Gate Quartet blended more melodies in their songs, giving them a playful rhythm as well as more social significance (i.e. background music for the civil rights movement) (Petrie. Warner 35-6). The 30s also saw the rise of creative Gospel singers like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who performed at night clubs to spread the word of God in the dark corners of society. By using a guitar for a rock and roll accompaniment instead of the jazz instruments used in the 20s, her style slightly deviated from Dorsey’s. Instruments may also vary according to the era, artist and subgenre, but drums, bass guitar, guitar, brass horns, tambourines, keyboard, piano, organ and violin were generally the instruments used (Saylor). These instruments were still used in off-shoot genres like Hard Bop and Soul Jazz.

Dorsey sowed the seeds of stardom for the greatest Gospel singers of all time, among which included “The King and Queen of Gospel” such as James Cleveland and Mahalia Jackson. By the 40s onwards, their stars were ripe enough to harvest and they were inspiration of contemporary soul singers. Younger audiences, however, found groovy and bouncy beats from siblings BeBe and CeCe Winans and Take 6 more appealing. Later, in the 80s and 90s, choirs began to replace quartets, thus increasing playful syncopation and harmonious tunes (Petrie).

Gospel Music, despite its religious flavor, had a widespread influence on other musical genres such as Hard Bop, Soul Jazz and Funk. Hard Bop, popular around the 50s-60s, mainly used the piano and saxophone as accompaniment though themes were not necessarily religious. There were usually nonets and quintets in Hard Bop (“Introduction”). From this genre developed Soul Jazz, which still retained the marks of Gospel Music, Blues and Rhythm and Blues. Like its predecessor, Soul Jazz was usually performed in small groups such as the organ trio. Funk, a 60s popular genre, stemmed from Soul Jazz and focused on guitar and bass rhythms (“Who started”).

Works Cited

“Introduction.” The Hard Bop Homepage, n.d. Web. 7 June 2010. Petrie, Phil. “The History of Gospel Music.” Afgen, n.d. Web. 7 June 2010. Saylor, Stephen. “Gospel Music Characteristics.” eHow, n.d. Web. 7 June 2010. Warner, Jay. American Singing Groups: A History from 1940s to Today. Milwaukee: Billboard Books, 2006. Print.

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