Thomas Andrew Dorsey (July 1, 1899, Villa Rica, Georgia - January 23, 1993, Chicago), is known as "the father of gospel music". Earlier in his life he was a leading blues pianist known as Georgia Tom.
As formulated by Dorsey, gospel music combines Christian praise with the rhythms of jazz and the blues. His conception also deviates from what had been, to that time, standard hymnal practice by referring explicitly to the self, and the self's relation to faith and God, rather than the individual subsumed into the group via belief.
Learn more about Thomas Dorsey and his music, free from pbs.org.