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Jazz with a Beat is the first book on the often overlooked but vitally important genre of small group swing jazz. Coming into being in the early 1940s, small group swing answered the need in the Black community for a form of jazz that was more accessible (and more danceable) than the new bebop. An adaptation of the big band Black swing (Erskine Hawkins, Jimmie Lunceford, Chick Webb) of the 1930s to small combos, and with a more vigorous beat for the new generation, this music developed and was beloved through the 1940s, continued to be enjoyed through the rock and roll years of the 1950s, and was a major influence on the soul jazz of the 1960s. Among the many hit artists portrayed in these pages are Illinois Jacquet, Louis Jordan, Big Jay McNeely, Joe Liggins, Nat "King" Cole, Red Prysock, Ruth Brown, Nellie Lutcher, Camille Howard, T-Bone Walker, and Ray Charles. Dismissed as "rhythm and blues," this music has been ignored by jazz historians. Jazz with a Beat honors this music as a legitimate genre of jazz and is a stirring evocation of an era. It should be of interest to lovers of jazz and Americana.