World’s Strangest

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The Late Movies: Jump Blues

Jump blues is a type of up-tempo blues that first gained popularity in the 1940s and experienced a renewal in interest during the (dreaded) 1990s swing revival. Billboard has described jump tunes as having a “bright bounce in the medium tempo and a steady drive maintained.” I usually think of it as Big Band [...]

The Late Movies: The Three Kings

The “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” are Albert, B.B. and Freddie King (no relation). The three of them are among the greatest bluesmen and most influential guitarists of the late 20th century and are veritable American institutions (just as, if not more, important than barbecue and baseball). For each of the Kings, we’ve got [...]

The American Dream: Ernie Barnes

By the time Ernest “Ernie” Barnes, Jr. (1938-2009) passed away this past April, he had truly achieved the American dream. He went from being a “fat” and “introverted” child who wasn’t allowed into art museums because he was black to a renowned artist with exhibitions in prestigious galleries. Along the way, he was also an [...]