chapter  3
24 Pages

1953–1957: The Problem of the New

The belief that blues was the wellspring of jazz motivated many aficionados to take

an interest in the genre, sample available recordings and patronize visiting

American artists. A small but devoted subset was even beginning to appreciate the

music on its own merits. However, their exposure was limited to a handful of early

blues styles. Between 1952 and 1956 contemporary genres, which demonstrated

the variety of possible approaches to the blues, arrived in Britain and challenged

the perceptual dichotomy of folk authenticity or commercial compromise. They

also called into question established ideas about what constituted the “real” blues

and strained the dominant paradigm of blues as the archaic roots of jazz nearly to

the breaking point.