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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Reporter tackles origins of rock and roll

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lately, I've been wondering if I was born in the wrong time period.

Although I like all types of music, I believe the origins of rock and roll lie in the late 1930s-1950s, with a nod to the rhythm and blues, jazz, country, gospel and boogie-woogie music of the 1920s and the 1930s. But, it really goes back further.

It took a lot of mixing together of various popular, regional and cultural musical genres throughout time to create the music we listen to today. The musical melting pot that started with the first song through now has created new forms of entertainment with each generation of songwriters that delved into it.

With musical changes, comes the age-old battle of rebellion and skepticism.

From the first moment when primitive man discovered that a hollow bone made melodic sounds to a present-day "rock star" smashing a guitar on stage for entertainment, music has inspired humanity.

Each generation of young people embraced the new sounds of "their" music as elder counterparts probably complained while holding desperately on to "their" musical past.

Imagine primitive teens being forced from the fire pit area to make their music someplace else because of the noise.

Out of respect to musical evolution and the fact my children are turning into young adults, I've requested they turn their booming music down, but never off.

"Try turning it two clicks down on the volume button, please," I yell above the writhing sounds of what they call "head banging" heavy metal music, which sounds like it could be the theme song at the gates of Hades. "I don't want my ears to bleed anymore, ok?"

Throughout time music has been alive with emotions that were mellow, lustful and somber.

My favorite music is, the incredible sounds of the 1930-1940s, Swing and Jazz.

When the notes of Glenn Miller's "In The Mood" fill the air, I can't stop the smile that takes over my face and fills my heart with joy.

Maybe it has to do with the memory of my grandmother, Iva Lashbrook.

Her albums included musical selections from Rudy Vallee, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Artie Shaw, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Tommy Dorsey. But her ultimate favorite was Glenn Miller.

Although she died in 1987, I can close my eyes when I hear a Miller tune and see her smiling and dancing around the living room with the vacuum cleaner in one hand and a dust rag in the other. There was joy in her heart and it filled the entire house.

"Makes cleaning less of a chore when you can dance your way through it," she'd tell me when I'd catch her.

In the 1990s many young people and famous musicians rediscovered the musical genres.

I think she would have liked Kenny G, Sade, Anita Baker and Chaka Kahn.

Currently, I think she would love Chris Isaak and Michael Buble's current recordings and Brian Seltzer's attempts to revitalize the sound.

If you haven't listened to swing or jazz music, give it a try.

I believe you will hear the sounds of the age-old battle of rebellion and skepticism, but you will also hear the hope of tomorrow because the music is timeless.