To hear the music and see the YouTube Videos click on the link below each Artist
Louis Armstrong was the first important soloist to emerge in jazz, and he became the most influential musician in the music’s history. As a trumpet virtuoso, his playing, beginning with the 1920s studio recordings made with his Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles, charted a future for jazz in highly imaginative, emotionally charged improvisation.
For this, he is revered by jazz fans.
Bessie Smith “Backwater Blues” 1927 Flood
Billie Holiday “Good Morning Heartache”
The first popular jazz singer to move audiences with the intense, personal feeling of classic blues, Billie Holiday changed the art of American pop vocals forever. Almost fifty years after her death, it’s difficult to believe that prior to her emergence, jazz and pop singers were tied to the Tin Pan Alley tradition and rarely personalized their songs; only blues singers like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey actually gave the impression they had lived through what they were singing. (Taken from Yahoo Bio)
Duke “The Duke” Ellington
Pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington wasn’t comfortable with the term “jazz.” He hoped to create music that was unclassifiable. Although initially inspired by ragtime piano, and making use of improvisation and harmonies rooted in the jazz tradition, he thought of his compositions as American classical music. From Yahoo Bio.
“Willow Weep For Me” Video
Ray Charles “What’d I Say”
Ray Charles was the musician most responsible for developing soul music. Singers like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson also did a great deal to pioneer the form, but Charles did even more to devise a new form of black pop by merging ’50s R&B with gospel-powered vocals, adding plenty of flavor from contemporary jazz, blues, and (in the ’60s) country.
Then there was his singing; his style was among the most emotional and easily identifiable of any 20th-century performer, up there with the likes of Elvis and Billie Holiday.
Elvis Presley may be the single most important figure in American 20th century popular music. But no one could argue with the fact that he was the musician most responsible for popularizing rock & roll on an international level. Viewed in cold sales figures, his impact was phenomenal. Dozens upon dozens of international smashes from the mid-’50s to the mid-’70s, as well as the steady sales of his catalog and reissues since his death in 1977, may make him the single highest-selling performer in history. Presley was not the very first white man to sing rhythm & blues; Bill Haley predated him in that regard, and there may have been others as well. Elvis was certainly the first, however, to assertively fuse country and blues music into the style known as rockabilly.
In mid-1954, Phillips, looking for a white singer with a black feel, teamed Presley with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black. Almost by accident, apparently, the trio hit upon a version of an Arthur Crudup blues tune, “That’s All Right Mama,” that became Elvis’ first single. (From Yahoo)