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By Larry Starr, Christopher Waterman

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These were kids growing up in the 1950s, a period of relative economic stability and prosperity marked by a return to socially and politically conservative ways. This was also the first generation to grow up with television; this new mass medium proved a force of incalculable influence. The term “rock ’n’ roll ” was first used for commercial and generational purposes by disc jockey Alan Freed. ” The term “rock ’n’ roll ” itself was derived from the many references to “rockin’” and “rollin’” found in rhythm & blues songs and on race records.

In subsequent decades, genres from rock to country to hip-hop mostly supplanted jazz in this role. But jazz continued to influence other forms of American music, even as it branched out in new directions. Bee-bop, acid, fusion, and other styles appealed to smaller and more specialized — but equally enthusiastic — audiences. The photographs here portray a number of postswing jazz giants, artists of unsurpassed creativity, sophistication, and talent. 44 Grammy-Award winning jazz singer Cassandra Wilson at the Avo Session in Basel, Switzerland, in 2006.

He was dead on New Year’s Day 1953 at 29, having suffered a heart attack in the back of his car en route to a performance. Williams affirmed the importance of religious traditions in country music by recording some gospel material. However, the fact that he recorded his sacred tunes under a pseudonym, rather than under his own name, ties him more closely to the practices of black secular singers than to those of most white artists. 61 ChapTEr 8 Rock ’n’ roll : A gEnERATIOn’S IdEnTITy The rise of rock ’n’ roll in the mid-1950s transformed the landscape of American popular music, further cementing the popularity of southern-derived styles ultimately derived from the blues and country music, and transforming the teenager into both a marketing concept and a cultural icon.

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American Popular Music (2008) by Larry Starr, Christopher Waterman


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