How Lowcountry African American musicians are influencing today’s music scene

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – DJ and radio host Montez Martin goes to Monsters Music and Movies to learn more about the artists he listens to and plays for his listeners.

He said one of the biggest influences for African American jazz musicians here in the Southeast is the Jenkins Orphanage Band.

“They actually performed all over the world, when a lot of young black folks couldn’t even leave the south, let alone eat a meal in a restaurant in the south,” said Montez.

Martin explained the cost to perform was so high so it was a struggle for artists. James Jamerson, a bassist born on Edisto Island left Charleston to pursue his music career. He eventually joined a house band for Motown Records.

“And had it not been for artists like James Jamerson and that whole Motown scene, you probably wouldn’t see a lot of these performers being able to go to places that they go and do the things that they do,” said Martin.

They called themselves The Funk Brothers and played on more number one hit records than The Beetles or Elvis Presley. Martin argues even though their music was rooted in black culture, there was something that everybody could identify with.

“To hear hiphop music being featured, not only as a part of the background but as an intricate part to marketing strategies in our country in our society,” said Martin.

Martin said their music influenced artists of all genres.

“The Rolling Stones. Their biggest influence was the Muddy Waters, coming out of Louisiana. The blues sound, that was a big part of 60’s rock and roll,” said Martin.

Proving through music we’re more similar than different, regardless of our backgrounds.

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