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Jump blues was a genre of popular music in the mid- to late-'40s.
It consisted of a small to mid-sized band with multiple horns, a bassist, a drummer and a vocalist.

The genre came about through a melding of traditional blues forms with Big Band jazz, placing the emphasis on driving rhythms, pounding basslines, and staccato, shouted vocals.
In short, the precursor elements to rock and roll.

As opposed to other blues forms, the guitar is de-emphasized to playing mostly rhythm. The lead instrument is generally a squalling, skronking saxophone.

The lyrics tend to be simple, with an emphasis on sexual double entendres and braggodocio. On a good jump blues song, those lyrics are howled or screamed, throwing the dancefloor into a frenzy.
This was the race music that frightened white people.

Addendum: As noted to me by user Transitional Man (and quite correctly) a lot of what we consider "swing," or did in that last revival, was actually jump blues. Bands like the Big Bad Voodoo Daddies and the Brian Setzer Orchestra were much closer to jump blues than to real, honest-to-God swing. However, these recent musicians managed to take all of the tension and passion out of a form in order to sell it to white suburban kids. Don't let the Cherry Poppin' Daddies stand in the way of discovering jump blues.

Some important artists include:
Johnny Otis
Floyd Dixon
Roy Milton
Big Joe Turner
Roy Brown

The best way to familiarize yourself with this genre is through compilations, especially those from the Mercury label of the late '40s.

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