Rhythm and blues

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Rhythm and blues (abbr. R&B or RnB) a catchall term invented for industry convenience, originally used in the 1940's by recording companies for categorizing recordings targeted for metropolitan African Americans. These works incorporated jazz based rocking music with heavy pounding beats, expressing African-American experiences of pain in the struggle for freedom and joy set to Afro-Cuban syncopated tresillo beats over swing rhythms. Artistes included in these genres were Louis Jordan, Fats Domino, Little Richards, Johnny Otis, Bo Diddley, James Brown, Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Chuck Berry.

A typical professional R&B music lineup between the 1950s and the 1970s normally consisted of a piano, guitars, bass, drums, a saxophone, and perhaps background vocals. RnB lyrics focused predominantly on themes of freedom, poverty, aspirations, sex; the singers usually strove to remain emotionally detached and "cool", the bands dressed in suits, even uniforms, with the music typically following repetitious stock sequences of chords and structure.

In the 1970s, RnB was a catchall term for soul and funk, referring to any music that was made by and for black Americans. In the 80s, a newer styles of R&B emerged. Termed "Contemporary R&B", it combined elements of rhythm and blues, pop, soul, hip-hop, funk and dance. Contemporary R&B vocalists include Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.