Comparing Rural Blues And Jazz

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Varying genres of music convey different messages and emotions attached to its specific style, but jazz, on the contrary, has different styles within itself. Jazz, being a form of music descending from African roots, has evolved throughout the years and has been reconfigured many times resulting in various types of “jazz.” Rural blues, being one of the earliest forms, and rhythm and blues, being one of the more contemporary forms, consequently have specific characteristics that allow the two to be completely separate forms of music under the same umbrella term known as “jazz.” The differing characteristics can be easily heard in the song “Crossroad” first sung by Robert Johnson in 1936 and, years later, by Eric Clapton in 1998. Before listening to Robert Johnson’s version of “Crossroad,” my perception of rural blues consisted of assuming that the vocalist would be a male soloist, …show more content…

Rural blues, being simple and unorganized, and rhythm and blues, being more complex and beat oriented, both portray the same song in virtually opposite ways. Both were entertaining in their own ways, and both of the artists were able grasp and hold the audience’s attention. Johnson’s rural blues version of “Crossroad” was heartfelt and story like with his little instrumental influence and his simple organization. When listening, the audience is able to hear his pure emotion and connection to the lyrics through his raw vocals. Clapton’s rhythm and blues version of “Crossroad” felt rehearsed and preformed; his use of strong beats, strict musical structure, and improvisation made the experience entertaining but very instrumentally focused. By comparing the two types of jazz, the listener is able to comprehend how much jazz has evolved throughout the years. Although one might prefer a specific style over the other, both are intriguing in their own ways and emphasize the strong influence jazz has in our

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