What Is Gospel Music

History of Gospel music is deeply rooted in the rich traditions of the African-American church. During the late 1800s, African-American churches in the southern United States started to fuse various styles of music into their worship services including African-American spirituals, hymns, and sacred songs. Such music was primarily sung at church and accompanied by hand clapping and foot stomping. Similarities between their chains of bondage and those of Moses’ people. The enslaved also linked the promise of an afterlife with earthly freedom. Since they were “allowed” to sing only about Christian ethics and ideals, they eventually turned the hymns they learned into their own form of religious folk music. These songs became known as Negro spirituals. Hidden in them was a secret code to give one another messages of hope and freedom. Canaan meant Canada, the land of freedom. Going up yonder meant going north. Moses was a name for Harriet Tubman, founder of the underground railroad. And Swing Low, Sweet Chariot was a song about taking that underground railroad north to freedom. (The swinging low of the sweet chariot is the rocking rhythm of a train.) In the midst of excruciatingly difficult lives, slaves used these songs to inspire inner strength and courage.

At the heart of the gospel music tradition was the use of a choir. The church choir consisted of a group of volunteer singers from the church congregation. Choir members could easily be distinguished from the rest of the congregation because they normally dressed in uniforms, which were choir robes. The type of feeling you may experience when listening to gospel music. By its very definition, the term gospel means good news. The types of music sang by the gospel choir followed the call and response format similar to that used in traditional hymns and sacred songs. The traditional structure of gospel music changed in the late 1930s when Thomas A. Dorsey began work for Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois. Dorsey was a former jazz pianist and composer who had worked with famous players such as Ma Rainey and Hudson Tamp Red Whitaker. Dorsey infused his study of blues and jazz with traditional gospel music. This new style of music, known as gospel blues, was initially rejected. However, by the end of the 1930s, gospel blues won over acceptance as the new form of traditional gospel.

Thomas Dorsey, The Father of Gospel Music Gospel music continued to evolve throughout the late 1930s. There are four distinct styles of gospel music including, but not limited to, quartet style, traditional gospel, contemporary gospel, and praise and worship. The Gospel quartet style is one in which a small number of male vocalists sing music together with tight harmonies.The major difference between traditional and contemporary gospel styles is that contemporary gospel places more emphasis on the solo artists as opposed to the choir. Most contemporary artists rarely sing with a choir. Praise and worship is a combination of both contemporary and traditional gospel styles, in that a praise leader has a small group of singers to help lead the congregation into singing gospel music. In addition to Thomas Dorsey, there are many others who contributed to the development of gospel music including James Cleveland and Mahalia Jackson. James Cleveland was a member of Pilgrim Baptist Church and sang under the direction of Thomas Dorsey. Cleveland was the founder of the Gospel Music Workshop Association (GMWA), the first gospel artist to record a live gospel LP, and the first gospel artist to sell 50,000 albums. It is a living experience, always changing, always giving, and always becoming the foundation that gave moral, physical and spiritual support to a great and powerful people.Mahalia-Jackson-2a

The influence of Mahalia Jackson is evident in her style and references to the storms of life
and of the good that is produced through overcoming adversity. Her melodious voice
stirred listeners as they “Moved On Up A Little Bit Higher” and invited them to participate in
her songs. She developed a flair for composing songs that moved the heart and regenerated the soul of a people who looked to the hills from whence cometh their help. The songs were so exciting and popular that congregations automatically joined in the singing and shouting as they lifted up the name of Jesus. It is the Alpha and Omega of God’s spiritual principle that plays upon the keyboard of mans integrity. It is a resonance, an echoing sound throughout the ages that has surrendered the wonders of God’s Almighty creations. The roots of gospel music are not well documented. Early recordings were lost. Stories behind the songs weren’t written down. A new book recounts the history of the beloved American art form.

After thousands of years, the sound of Gospel Music is still enthralling and captivating because it stands against the social background as a shadow of today’s community problems and dilemmas. From the 1930’s to the 1960’s desperate circumstances controlled our lives; despair and hope, life and death; but Gospel Music mirrored our predicaments as a collective group of people, it reflected upon our social status, and eventually reverberated in our made up minds that God was indeed on our sides.

What Is Jazz + Billie Holiday

Dr. Billy Taylor, noted jazz pianist, historian, and educator, shares glimpses of his extensive knowledge of jazz music from its roots in the African-American slavery experience, through the early days of ragtime, and onward through swing, bop, and progressive jazz. Dr. Taylor combines academic research with a wealth of personal knowledge of the music and shares many fascinating anecdotes about the great artists of jazz. He cautions, however, that four hours is only long enough to scratch the surface. For an in depth look at jazz history, get a copy of “Jazz Piano, A Jazz History.” Jazz an American art form and an international phenomenon! Jazz is not the result of choosing a tune, but an ideal that is created first in the mind, inspired by ones passion and willed next in playing music.

Jazz music is a language, sometimes intimate, often boisterous, but always layered with experience and life. Jazz is the most significant form of musical expression in American culture and outstanding contribution to the art of music. From obscure origins in New Orleans over a century ago, the music and the word we use for it are now familiar the world over. Like the self- motivating, energetic solos that distinguish the genre, Jazz continues to evolve and seek new levels of artistic expression. In slightly over one hundred years, this evolution has given birth to approximately two dozen distinct Jazz styles. Jazz music draws from life experience and human emotion as the inspiration of the creative force, and through this discourse is chronicled the story of its people. Jazz musicians and those that follow the genre closely, can indeed be thought of as an artistic community complete with its leaders, spokesmen, innovators, aficionados, members and fans.

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday at the age of 18 and after gaining more experience than most adult musicians can claim, Holiday was spotted by John Hammond and cut her first record as part of a studio group led by Benny Goodman, who was then just on the verge of public prominence. In 1935 Holiday’s career got a big push when she recorded four sides that went on to become hits, including “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Miss Brown to You.” This landed her a recording contract of her own, and then, until 1942, she recorded a number of master tracks that would ultimately become an important building block of early
American jazz music.

Billie Holiday began working with Lester Young in 1936, who pegged her with her now-famous nickname of “Lady Day.” When Holiday joined Count Basie in 1937 and then Artie Shaw in 1938, she became one of the very first black women to work with a white orchestra, an impressive accomplishment of her time. Billie Holiday was a true artist of her
day and rose as a social phenomenon in the 1950s. Her soulful, unique singing voice and her ability to boldly turn any material that she confronted into her own music made her a superstar of her time. Today, Holiday is remembered for her masterpieces, creativity and vivacity, as many of Holiday’s songs are as well known today as they were decades ago. Holiday’s poignant voice is still considered to be one of the greatest jazz voices of all time.

Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan) grew up in jazz talent-rich Baltimore in the 1920s. As a young teenager, Holiday served the beginning part of her so-called “apprenticeship” by singing along with records by Bessie Smith or Louis Armstrong in after-hours jazz clubs. When Holiday’s mother, Sadie Fagan, moved to New York in search of a better job, Billie eventually went with her. She made her true singing debut in obscure Harlem nightclubs and borrowed her professional name – Billie Holiday  from screen star Billie Dove. Although she never underwent any technical training and never even so much as learned how to read music, Holiday quickly became an active participant in what was then one of the most vibrant jazz scenes in the country. She would move from one club to another, working for tips. She would sometimes sing with the accompaniment of a house piano player while other times she would work as part of a group of performers. In the 1930s, when Holiday was working with Columbia Records, she was first introduced to the poem
“Strange Fruit,” an emotional piece about the lynching of a black man. Though Columbia would not allow her to record the piece due to subject matter, Holiday went on to record the song with an alternate label, Commodore, and the song eventually became one of Holiday’s classics. It was “Strange Fruit” that eventually prompted Lady Day to continue more of her signature, moving ballads.

Billie Holiday recorded about 100 new recordings on another label, Verve, from 1952 to 1959. Her voice became more rugged and vulnerable on these tracks than earlier in her career. During this period, she toured Europe, and made her final studio recordings for the MGM label in March of 1959.Despite her lack of technical training, Holiday’s unique diction, inimitable phrasing and acute dramatic intensity made her the outstanding jazz singer of her day. White gardenias, worn in her hair, became her trademark. “Singing songs like the ‘The Man I Love’ or ‘Porgy’ is no more work than sitting down and eating Chinese roast duck, and I love roast duck,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I’ve lived songs like that.” Billie Holiday, a musical legend still popular today, died an untimely death at the age of 44. Her emotive voice, innovative techniques and touching songs will forever be remembered and enjoyed.

Childrens Music History


Long-playing records and 78s became immensely popular with the general public in the 1930s and 1940s, major record labels began to get in on the fun. Decca, Columbia, and RCA Victor all released music for children during these two decades, usually novelty tunes sung by popular actors of the day, light classical music, cowboy ditties, or songs from animated Disney films. A few labels, such as Golden Records and Young People’s Records/Children’s Record Guild, were established specifically and solely for distributing children’s music. Just like mainstream music for adults, children’s music has a history all its own. This short introduction to the world of kids’ music will highlight important names and developments that helped make children’s music what it is today. As the 1950s rolled around, the general perception of children’s music was about to be changed forever. Pete Seeger, Ella Jenkins, and Woody Guthrie all released albums during this decade that forever changed the way parents and educators thought of music for children. Seeger’s American Folk Songs for Children, Guthrie’s Songs to Grow On for Mother and Child, and Jenkins’ Call and Response: Rhythmic Group Singing were all released on the Folkways label in 1953, 1956, and 1957, respectively.

Pete Seeger was a collector of folk music, heavily involved with leftist political movements of his time. His work with the Weavers and his own solo performances had made him a household name by the early ’50s, and American Folk Songs catapulted him into the position of Grandfather of Children’s Music, beginning a career-long dedication to entertaining and educating children with historic songs and nursery rhymes from our nation’s past. Children’s music is music composed and performed for children by adults. Influenced artist contexts this means music, usually songs, written specifically for a juvenile audience. The composers are usually adults. Creamy was a Danish teen-pop duo, composed of Rebekka Mathew and Rannva Joensen. Little Kitty Creamydk Hello Kitty

Their 1999 debut album, Creamy, made when the pair were just thirteen years of age, was composed of euro-pop versions of children’s songs. In 2001, they released a seasonal album, Christmas Snow. Their only single in the UK was a euro-pop cover of the theme song to the 1984 movie, Neverending Story, which was featured on their second album, We Got the Time. They were signed to RecArt Music Denmark. Their album, “We Got the Time” was produced by Ole Evenrud, of A*Teens fame. Ole Evenrud also produced a version of a song from that album, “Help! I’m a Fish (I’m a Little Yellow Fish)”, for the Danish pop group, Little Trees. After their appearance on Dancemania Speed 10 with a speedy remix of their song “I Do I Do I Do” in late 2002, Creamy appeared on this eurodance compilation series featured in Hello Kitty music video of their song “Little Kitty”.

Pop Music ft. Michael Jackson


Pop music (a term that originally derives from an abbreviation of “popular”) is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented towards a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes. Pop music has absorbed influences from most other forms of popular music, but as a genre is particularly associated with the rock and roll and later rock style.The phrase “pop music” was first coined around the middle of the 1920’s, it meant a piece of music had “popular” appeal. Numerous things that took place during the recordings of the 20’s could be seen as being the start of the modern day pop music industry, which includes rhythm and blues music, as well as, country, folk, and others.

Pop music has been a profitable industry in America since the 19th century, but Early Pop/Rock is a style that took shape in the post-rock & roll era, once the more conservative elements of the record industry had come to terms with the new musical landscape. Popular culture is distributed across many forms of mass communication including newspapers, magazines, radio, television, movies, music, books and cheap novels, comics and cartoons, and advertising. It contrasts with high cultural art forms, such as opera, classical music and artworks, traditional theater and literature. In mass communication, the term popular culture refers to messages that make limited intellectual and aesthetic demands through content that is designed to amuse and entertain audiences.

mj dancingMichael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, the seventh of Katherine and Joe Jackson’s nine children. At the age of 5, Jackson began performing with his older brothers in a music group coached by their steelworker father. In 1968, Motown Records signed the group, which became known as the Jackson 5, and Michael Jackson, a natural showman, emerged as the lead singer and star. The Jackson 5’s first album, released in 1969, featured the hit “I Want You Back,” and the group’s brand of pop-soul-R&B music made them an immediate success. Their musical popularity even led to their starring in their own TV cartoon series in the early 1970s.

Jackson released his first solo album, “Got to Be There,” in 1972, while continuing to sing with his brothers. Six years later, in 1978, he made his big-screen debut as the Scarecrow in “The Wiz,” an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name. Directed by Quincy Jones, the film starred an all-black cast that included singer Diana Ross as Dorothy. Jones collaborated with Jackson on his 1979 album “Off the Wall,” which sold some 7 million copies worldwide. The pair teamed up again for Jackson’s now-iconic 1982 album, “Thriller,” which went on to sell 50 million copies around the globe, making it the best-selling studio album of all time. “Thriller” is credited with jump-starting the era of music videos and playing a key role in the rise of then-fledging cable TV network MTV, which launched in 1981.With his record-breaking album Thriller and such international hit singles as “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” Michael Jackson became the quintessential ’80s pop star. Jackson’s ability to blend r&b with pop, rock guitars with dance beats, combined with his cross-format radio success and innovative videos to create a pop music template that is still with us today.

Rhythm and Blues Music History

james brown

The term Rhythm and Blues, RnB, was first used by Billboard magazine in the late 1940’s. RnB was an African-American urban sound that evolved from blues and jazz. In the late 1940’s RnB was described as rocking and jazz based with a heavy and insistent beat. RnB was becoming popular because of it dance ability. By 1949 the term had replaced Billboard’s category Harlem Hit Parade.

By the 1950’s RnB was starting to define the sound of Rock n Roll. In the early fifties Little Richard started recording for RCA Records and by the mid fifties had hits with “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally.” Fats Domino had a hit with “Ain’t That a Shame.” Bo Diddly and Chuck Berry would influence and create beats that became mainstays in Rock n Roll.

Rhythm performer and recording artist in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ray Charles pioneered a new style of music that became known as soul,” a blend of gospel music, blues, and jazz that brought him worldwide fame.
Ray Charles and blues (RnB), which combines soulful singing and a strong backbeat, was the most popular music created by and for African Americans between the end of World War II (1941-45) and the early 1960s. Such Georgia artists as Ray Charles, Little Richard, and James Brown rank among the most influential and innovative RnB performers.

Surging employment during World War II accelerated the migration of the rural poor to cities and helped create a younger, more urban black audience. By 1946 the decade-long dominance of swing music was fading, but the demand for exciting dance music remained. Early RnB artists broke away from the big band formula by typically performing in small combos and emphasizing blues-style vocals and song structures. Saxophone and piano were still prominent, but electric guitar and bass added volume and intensity, making the new sound ideal for radio and jukeboxes.
Billboard magazine coined the term rhythm and blues to rename its “race records” chart in 1949, reflecting changes in the social status, economic power, and musical tastes of African Americans. Promoted by new, independently owned record labels and radio stations marketed to blacks, RnB also captured the imagination of young white audiences and led directly to the popularity of rock and roll.

James Brown, and Aretha Franklin, was instrumental in pioneering soul music, a dynamic blend of gospel and rhythm and blues. Two of Brown’s singles in 1965, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag-Part 1″ and I Got You (I Feel Good),” were milestones of the genre.
James Brown and Aretha Franklin
performer has been more influential than singer and bandleader James Brown. Brought up in Augusta, Brown became known as the “hardest-working man in show business” for his relentless touring and explosive stage performances. His first hit was “Please, Please, Please” (1956). His million-selling Live at the Apollo album (1963) achieved unprecedented crossover success.

Starting with “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)” in 1965, Brown evolved a new, funky style that emphasized intense rhythmic interplay between vocals, horns, guitar, and drums. He was a constant presence on both RnB and pop charts through the social turmoil of the 1960s and early 1970s and achieved recognition not only as a performer but also as a symbol of black pride and self-sufficiency.In 1986 Ray Charles, Little Richard, and James Brown were among the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.The end of the classic RnB period was marked by Billboard magazine’s short-lived decision to combine its pop and RnB charts in 1963. Since then “RnB” has been used more broadly to encompass a range of black musical genres, including soul, funk, disco, and rap.