Rhythm ‘n’ Blues

Nick Catalano

in Clifford Brown

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195144000
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849017 | DOI:
                   Rhythm ‘n’ Blues

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During the 1950s, the black theatre and night club circuit was dominated by rhythm ‘n’ blues. There was an enormous national audience for this music, and as the popularity of big dance bands waned, the music also began to interest greater numbers of white audiences. By 1953, black rhythm ‘n’ blues performers were absorbed into the great onslaught of rock ‘n’ roll. One day in late November 1951, one such group, dubbed The Five Blue Flames, and later billed as “Chris Powell and the Blue Flames”, visited Wilmington for a couple of dances. The music consisted of “mostly rhythm ‘n’ blues, jazz, mambo and calypso”, according to Vance Wilson, the tenor saxist with the band at the time. One night, after seeing Clifford Brown play during either one of the Wilmington dances or another of the Blue Flames' appearances in nearby Philadelphia, Chris Powell asked him to join his band. The twenty-two-year-old Brown had to pack his gear and immediately become a road musician.

Keywords: Clifford Brown; jazz; rhythm ‘n’ blues; Chris Powell; The Five Blue Flames; Vance Wilson; Philadelphia; Wilmington

Chapter.  5313 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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