Exclusive Jazz and Blues offer for High50 subscribers.
Our latest exclusive Vinyl Box offer is as cool as the box itself – a free copy of The Best of Muddy Waters when you buy The Joy of Blues and Jazz Box set. This greatest hits album was originally released in 1958 and features 12 singles recorded between 1948 and 1954, most of which appeared in Billboard Magazine’s top 10. It includes timeless classics like Hoochie Coochie Man, I Just Want to Make love to You and Rollin’ Stone, which inspired the name of a certain rock band. This is Chicago Blues at its most raw and powerful and deserves to be in every vinyl collection
With its themes of hard knocks, lost love and bad luck, the blues is often viewed as the soundtrack to despair. But for the discerning listener, there’s a life-affirming joy to be found in both its drama and danceability. Beginning as a form of African American folk music, the blues was born in America’s Mississippi delta region in the 19th century but thanks to the invention of the gramophone record, its popularity spread throughout the United States and eventually travelled overseas. Early pioneers were Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell and Lead Belly; later, in the 1950s, the rise of urban electric blues musicians – John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and Bo Diddley and of course, Muddy Waters – would eventually lead to the development of rock music.
Another offshoot, called rhythm and blues, produced figures as varied as Chuck Berry and Etta James; and when that style hitched up with gospel music, it would help birth soul music. Most prominent among soul’s leading ladies was the church-reared singer Aretha Franklin, the so-called “Queen of Soul,” whose father C. L. Franklin was a famous preacher. Memphis-born Aretha went on to win 18 Grammys and was ranked first in Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Singers Of All Timelist in 2008.
As well as being the foundation for rock, pop, soul and later funk, the blues has a close relationship with jazz. Like the blues, jazz originated in the southern United States, in New Orleans, and was popularised by trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong in the 1920s. Jazz went through various phases; swing in the 30s, bebop in the 40s, cool jazz and hard bop in the 50s, free jazz in the 60s and fusion in the 70s. Its major figures ranged from pioneering bandleaders in the shape of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Miles Davis to virtuosic horn players like Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie. Two of jazz’s greatest tenor saxophonists of all time were close friends; musical pathfinders John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, whose thrilling improvised solos over finger-clicking grooves epitomised the joyful essence of jazz creativity. Like most jazz musicians, both men were well-versed in the blues; in fact, Coltrane started off his career in the early 50s playing raucous blues numbers while walking the bar in rowdy juke joints.
Serious music fans have rediscovered the joys of vinyl – listening to an album, as it was recorded, one track at a time. Vinyl Box adds to this sense of discovery with a curated vinyl collection. Each week three mystery albums are chosen to represent a particular musical genre, based on ratings and reviews from music lovers around the world and curated by writer, DJ and A&R consultant Daryl Easlea. Each box contains a recognised classic album, a household favourite and an undiscovered gem. And as an exclusive reward for High50 members, Vinyl Box is including an extra album each week, just for you.
The Joy of Blues and Jazz presents three iconic figures from two musically connected worlds; all of them iconic musicians whose influence can still be felt today. The Joy of Blues and Jazz box costs £43.99. High50 customers taking up this offer will get an additional album for free – The best of Muddy Waters.
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