Soul Music’s Influence on Jazz

Soul music originated in the African American community of the United States. Much of the sound and elements actually arose from gospel music played in churches of the deep south of North America. It peaked in popularity in the 1960s having had humble beginnings in the late 1950s.

Soul Jazz

Soul has had a deep influence on many different genres of music. Its effect and influence can be seen everywhere, even today. The development of what is known as soul jazz is a perfect example of this reach. This type of music originated in the 1950s and is a combination of rhythm and blues, gospel, as well as hard bop and, of course, jazz. The saxophone, drums, electric bass, bass drum, guitar, piano, and Hammond organ are just some of the instruments used to bring to life this harmonious sound.

The city of New Orleans in Louisiana, USA was where jazz first arose, but it was first recorded in 1917.  However, it is believed that jazz and its various elements were being played in bands for many years before that time. The 1920s was a period of extreme popularity when it came to jazz and swing.

Jazz and Other Genres

Over the years jazz became influenced by other genres too. In the 1940s new elements were added and the style that was known as bebop or bop sprung into existence. After even more additions and other forms of improvisation, the sound of jazz started to change and become more complex. Singers began to experiment and started to bring new sounds and components into their usual routines.

Soulful sounds started to appear in what was initially known as hard bop. Many believe this was the starting point of what was to later develop into soul jazz. This style of music really reached its peak in the late 1950s, with the release of the 1959 album The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco. In fact, many records of this genre came out in the late 1950s and were popular well into the 1960s.

It was, however, quite different from hard bebop, as a lot more emphasis was placed on the element of rhythmic groove. Many people consider Horace Silver, a pianist, to be one of the first musicians to really create what became known as the soul jazz genre.

Emphasis was strongly placed on the sense of groove making the music catchy and easy to dance to. It was also frequently described as being very repetitive which, because of its strong rhythms, became extremely popular. The introduction of the organ came later on and this added layers of complexity to the harmonies that were being played. Famous soul jazz organists from the past include Baby Face Willette and Freddie Roach to name just a few. Although jazz music had its beginnings well before soul was even a thing, certain elements and its evolution can be traced back to it. This has led to an entirely new sound and catchy songs that people enjoy listening to.