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For centuries African Americans have dominated the American music scene.  Black music is in fact America’s original music, and the Spirituals-Blues-Jazz-Gospel-Charleston-Twist-HipHop gift is the foundation not only of  rhythm and blues but also of Broadway and The Grammys.  Read about three of the most important moments in Black Music History below:

1.  1660 – 1860.  In the most stupendously creative act in American cultural history, the “Black and unknown bards” of slavery created the Spirituals and the foundations of the blues and American dance.  Everything that followed–Broadway, the Grammys, Gershwin, the Cakewalk, the Moonwalk, the Electric Slide–is an elaboration of the original.

2.  1870’s – 1920’s.  Creation of blues by post-slavery blacks in Texas, Alabama, Tennesse, Mississippi, everywhere led to the first written blues, “The Memphis Blues”, published in 1912, and great blues singers like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith.

3.  1890’s – 1920’s.  Invention of Jazz music, a collective creation by Blacks in Louisiana, Texas, Missouri and other places, followed by creative syntheses by great individual performers like Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and others.  On November 11, 1925, Louis Armstrong recorded the first of the Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings that defined the rhythmic and improvisational foundation of Jazz.

Check out Louis Armstrong singing “What A Wonderful World”: