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‘Blues, Gospel and All That Jazz’ to Be Explored

The evolution of rock ‘n’ roll will be explored in “Blues, Gospel, and All that Jazz: The Cultural Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” a Pennsylvania College of Technology Professional Development Colloquium set for Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. The presentation will be in the College’s Professional Development Center and is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available.

Dr. Jerry Zolten will share his vast experience and insight during the multimedia presentation, which will feature rare recordings and live performance videos. Performers such as Uncle Dave Macon, Jimmie Rodgers, Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry are included. The presentation illustrates how rock ‘n’ roll evolved from various blues, gospel and jazz traditions of early 20th century African-American music.

A Commonwealth Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Zolten is a writer, musical producer and musician. He also is an assistant professor of speech communications at Penn State-Altoona.

Zolten is the producer of “Wreckin’ the House,” a CD by the Grammy Award-winning black gospel group, The Fairfield Four. Based in Nashville, the group is considered pioneers in the musical genre. He also is the official biographer of black gospel pioneers, The Dixie Hummingbirds, especially known for their song, “Love Me Like a Rock.” He recently participated in a recording session with Paul Simon on a remake of that song for a House of Blues album commemorating the group’s 70th anniversary.

Zolten’s other credits include being a liner-notes writer for MCA Records’ current rereleases of historic material recorded for Texas-based Peacock Label. He is the leader of an eight-piece, rhythm-and-blues band, Code Blue.

The colloquium is supported by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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