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Charles Brown was the pioneer originator of the immensely influential postwar California blues style. Though identified with his classic “Driftin’ Blues,” he was not committed to just the blues, and was comfortable as a popular crooner as well. His efforts as a vocalist, pianist, and composer helped create the music that would become rhythm and blues, and he was one of the principals in bringing about a shift in the mainstream of African-American music, one that would bring vocalists to the forefront and largely eclipse the instrumental art of jazz. Brown was a premier entertainer in the 1940s and 1950s, influencing a host of later performers including Ray Charles.
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