The blues has deep roots in American history, particularly African American history. The blues originated on Southern plantations in the 19th Century. African Americans had a deep desire to move away from the sorrow songs of spirituals and transform into an upbeat sound of prosperity and power. Spirituals were associated with slavery and oppression, however, blues had a raunchy twist to it that became more about the troubles people face within relationships between each other.
Most blues music is comprised of 12 bars. The phrase “12 bar blues” is what it’s most commonly referred to now. Migrants from the south wanted to hear music that reflected their new surroundings. Musicians switched the country sounding instruments for harmonicas, drums, and bass. This gave jazz music a burst of flavor and excitement and made people want to get up and dance their pain away.