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It was Bob Marley who made reggae into an international phenomenon In the wake of his success in the 1970s came a host of other names and it wasnt long before reggae became an established genre of music But reggae was simply the growth the development of what had been happening in Jamaican musicBeginning with ska and then rock steady the loudest island in the world had declared its real musical independence and had already made an imprint on the world albeit a small one If you want to take it back to the beginning you have to blame it on jazz One of Americas great contributions to musical culture it swept around the world Through radio broadcasts and records Jamaica then still and British colony got the fever in the 1940s Bands sprang up to entertain tourists like Eric Deans Orchestra and future giants like trombonist Don Drummond and sax man Tommy McCook learned the licks and honed their chops on the music With the advent of the 1950s American popular music began to fragment In jazz be-bop became the new movement Rhythm and blues the black style formerly called race music started coming on strong The era of the jazz orchestra was slowly fading as music grew harder stronger more youthful That spread to Jamaica just as it did to other parts of the globe And Jamaica itself was beginning to change It had been a mostly rural economy but now people were flooding into the capital Kingston in search of their own piece of postwar prosperity On the weekends Kingstonians old and new would gather for dances in the open spaces called lawns all over the city where sound systems essentially loud primitive mobile discos would throb with the latest sounds from the States If you didnt have a radio - and in the poor economy many didnt - this was how you heard the new records RB
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