Long before Paul Whiteman, a bandleader, orchestral director, violinist and composer dubbed himself “The King of Jazz” back in the 1920s, Joseph Oliver, aka King Oliver, was pioneering the sound of jazz and Dixieland down in Louisiana with the syrupy sound of his cornet. In fact, it was King Oliver’s melodic compositions back in the early 1900s that influenced the iconic and brassy sound of Louis Armstrong, who is considered one of the greatest trumpet players of all time.
Even Elvis Presley, who has long been revered as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, was heavily influenced by the sound and swagger of Chuck Berry, a guitarist, singer and songwriter who forged a style of rhythm and blues back in the 1950s that ultimately led to the creation of rock music. Elvis’ own discography features a few songs originally composed and performed by Berry, including classics like “Maybellene” and “Memphis, Tennessee.”
Just about every genre of music has, in some way, been touched and influenced by African-Americans. That’s why in 1979, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the month of June as Black Music Month.
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BLACK MUSIC MATTERS: WHY WE CELEBRATE AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSIC APPRECIATION MONTH was originally published on praisecleveland.com