Jazz History

The Roots Of Jazz

Pre-1850 

Though jazz and classic blues are really early twentieth-century black music innovations, certain characteristics found in jazz do have their roots in much earlier musical traditions. Call and response, improvisation, the appropriation and reinvention of elements from Western art music: black music in the twentieth-century has never held a monopoly on these musical practices. For instance, the era American historians call "antebellum" (roughly 1815-1861) holds much of interest to researchers looking for the deep roots of jazz.

There was one condition that had to be met for a black tradition unique to North America to develop. There had to be a creole population in place, i.e. a population of blacks born not in Africa but in America. Historically, and for various complicated reasons, slaves in the United States began reproducing their numbers after the closing of the African slave trade in 1808. The creole birthrate actually climbed in the United States, as opposed to most Latin and Caribbean American colonies. Unlike in Brazil or Cuba direct African infusions into black American culture were much less pronounced in the early and middle nineteenth-century. After 1808, blacks in North America began remembering--as well as forgetting--African musical traditions, reinventing them to fit their needs in an entirely different American context. This is an important thing to remember, especially if you hold with Amiri Baraka that "Blues People" have always been curiously American "Negroes."

But the North American variation and reinvention of African tradition in the early nineteenth-century was not monolithic. That is to say, depending on the region and the demands of the musical audience--whether it be fellow slaves or plantation-owners--the music varied from place to place. Perhaps the difference between 'downtown' and 'uptown' black style even began during this era. On the one hand there were the plaintive call-and-response hollers and 'sperchils' to be found in the tobacco fields, cotton plantations, and sugar marshes that stretched from Virginia to Texas. These instances of black music-making were largely produced by and for a black slave community that understood the significance of the music in ways that whites never could. Scholars have often noted the hidden meaning of field hollers and the significance of the drums to communication between various slave groups. The drums were even banned in the British Caribbean. Meanwhile, 'uptown', there were the slaves that played for planter functions. Think here of Solomon Northup, abducted from New York and sold into slavery in the New Orleans area. He would play his violin with other slaves to entertain plantation misters and mistresses at quadrilles and fancy balls. Others slave musicians would play at the so-called quadroon balls, New Orleans galas where light-skinned slave women were auctioned off to the highest bidder. There were striking similarities between these balls and the Storyville milieu where Jelly Roll Morton learned to entertain prostitutes and their patrons.

Despite the fact that the vast majority of blacks lived in the South, there were some freemen and women in the North. Indeed, they even had their own autonomous cultural venues, like the African Grove theater in New York City. But perhaps an even more important agent in spreading black musical style to the North during the first half of the nineteenth century was minstrelsy. The minstrel show was born in the same year as William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator, 1831, when Dan Rice-for the first time in American history-"blacked up" for a variety show in New York's Bowery district. The show became increasingly formalized after the Christie Minstrels devised a much-imitated structure for it in the 1840s and 50s. Two ubiquitous components of this structure were the Stephen Foster songs and a generic instrumentation including banjoes, "bones" (jawbones scraped together for percussive effect), fiddle, and tambourine. Minstresly had of course a more spurious connection to black musical traditions than did, say, the spirituals. But it should be remembered that most Northern minstrels did go to great lengths to acknowledge the black stevedores or plantation slaves from whom they had stolen their material. This sort of Love and Theft, according to Eric Lott, set a precedent for a whole tradition of blackface in America where white performers would borrow lovingly, profitably, and heavily from black musical styles, from Dan Rice to Elvis.

Though the minstrel show declined in popularity during the 1860s, blackface has retained a unique place in American culture. When the Fisk Jubilee Singers--a black gospel group from the first all-black university--showed up in New York in the 1860s to try and raise money for their troubled institution some audience members were disappointed, expecting them to sing a bit more like the minstrels did. Indeed, blacks entering show business from the 1860s on often had no choice but to enter it as minstrels. As it turned out, white audiences after the Civil War preferred black minstrels--or blacks in blackface--considering them the "genuine" article. The irony is, of course, that blacks in blackface had to perform a stereotype of themselves contributing to the construction of pervasive stereotypes of black people based on apocryphal happy-go-lucky "Jim Crow" and "dandy" plantation types. Despite the more troubling aspects of minstrelsy, it was another place where European and African traditions met and mingled in a heady, racist, and decidedly American stew. It is also the place where many jazz performers including, for one, Bessie Smith got their start.

Some form of music shaped by the black experience in the United States had appeared in both the South and the North by the time of the Civil War. Likewise, New Orleans--being the center of the American slave trade--had already taken on special significance in the history of black music-making in America. The most interesting reference to antebellum black music is found in the abolitionist Benjamin Lundy's diary. Near the New Orleans slave market, the hub of the interstate slave exchange, blacks continued to meet on or around Congo square, under the supervision of their masters to sell their wares, exchange information, and dance to drums that Lundy sketched in his diary and claimed were straight from Africa. Another white observer, Louis Moreau Gottschalk--Americas foremost composer, inter-American cultural diplomat, and piano virtuoso of the 1850s-claimed that he grew up in the shadow of Congo Square. In what is probably his most famous composition, Gottschalk sketches for us an interpretation of another African instrument retained and reinvented by blacks in America. He called this composition "The Banjo."

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1895

Ragtime composer and pianist Scott Joplin is born in Texarkana, TX on November 24, 1868.

Hot cornet player Buddy Bolden is born in uptown New Orleans, La. in 1868. Buddy is considered by many to be the first person to play the Blues form of New Orleans Jazz.

The handcranked phonograph is demonstrated by Thomas Edison on November 29, 1877. The phonograph will eventually allow the spread of popular music.

Cornetist Joe "King" Oliver is born on a plantation near Abend, LA on May 11, 1885.

Pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton (Ferdinand La Menthe) is born in Gulfport, LA. on September 20, 1885. Jelly Roll learns harmonica at age 5 and is proficient on guitar at age 7.

Blues singer Ma Rainey (Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett) is born on April 26, 1886 in Columbus, Ga.

Thomas Edison invents the first motor-driven phonograph. Phonographs are improving but are still a long way away from being commercial.

Stride piano player Willie "The Lion" Smith is born in 1893.

Stride piano great James P. Johnson is born on February 1, 1891 in New Brunswick, N.J.

Blues singer Mamie Smith (believed to be the first black to make a record) is born on September 16, 1890 in Cincinnati, OH.

First use of the word Ragtime appears in the song title "Ma Ragtime Baby" by Fred Stone in 1893.

Blues singer Bessie Smith is born on April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, TN.

Band leader Benny Moten is born on November, 13, 1894 in Kansas City, MO.

Boogie Woogie piano player Jimmy Yancey is born in 1894.

Stride piano player Luckyeth "Lucky" Roberts is born on August 7, 1895 in Philadelphia, PA.

Clarinetist Jimmie Noone born in New Orleans, LA.

In the Supreme Court, Plessy vs. Ferguson establishes the "separate but equal" concept that will allow segregation and "Jim Crow" to flourish.

Pioneer Boogie piano player Lloyd Glenn born in Texas in 1896.

Buddy Bolden organizes the first band to play the instrumental Blues (the fore-runner of Jazz). The band's repertoire consists of Polkas, Quadrilles, Ragtime and Blues.

Storyville (the famed red light district of New Orleans) opens. It was named after New Orleans alderman Sidney Story.

The Ragtime craze is at full tilt.

Soprano saxophone and clarinet virtuoso Sidney Bechet born in New Orleans on May 14.

Stride piano great Willie "The Lion" Smith born in Goshen, NY on November 23.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1898

Scat singer Leo Watson born in Kansas City, MO on February 27.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1899

Piano player, band leader and Jazz composer Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington is born on April 29 in Washington, D.C. to a moderately well-to-do butler/navy blueprint man.

Thomas E. "Georgia Tom" Dorsey is born in Georgia.

A publisher buys the rights to several Scott Joplin rags, but turns down "Maple Leaf Rag". Shortly thereafter, (farmer, ice cream salesman, and piano peddler) John Stark hears the song, likes it, and publishes it for Joplin. "Maple Leaf Rag" sells over 100,000 copies.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1900

July 4, 1900 is the day that Louis Armstrong always claims as his birthday. Armstrong's nickname will be Satchmo. He will receive this nickname in England in the early 1930's when the British hear his original nickname, Satchelmouth, incorrectly. Armstrong will be recognized as the first genius of Jazz because the entire concept of swinging will be attributed to him.

Blues become a standard feature of honky tonks and dancehalls. Horn players imitate the human voice with mutes and growls.

New Orleans players are playing a mix of Blues, Ragtime, brass band music, marches, Pop songs and dances. The Jazz stew is brewing. Some musicians are beginning to improvise the Pop songs.

The end of the Spanish-American war has brought a surplus of used military band instruments into the port of New Orleans.

Jelly Roll Morton is a youth working the "high class sporting houses" or more bluntly, brothels, as a Ragtime piano player. His wages come from tips from wealthy patrons.

Migrations from the south into Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, etc. are beginning.

Trombonist James Henry "Jimmy" Harrison is born in Louisville, KY on October 17. Harrison will invent an important style of Swing trombone.

Trumpeter Tommy Ladnier is born in Mandeville, LA on May 28. Ladnier will become one of the important early Jazz trumpeters.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1901

Daniel Louis Armstrong is born on August 4 in New Orleans.

New Orleans clarinet player Edmund Hall is born on May 15. Hall was one of the few New Orleans players to become a Dixieland player in the 1940's and beyond.

Multi-instrumentalist Frank Trumbauer is born in Carbondale, Illinois. Trumbauer is a descendent of Charles Dickens. Trumbauer's primary instrument will be the saxophone

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1902

Jelly Roll Morton is now seventeen years old. He is beginning to attract attention in the New Orleans area as a brothel piano player. At this point he is playing primarily Ragtime and a little Blues. He is one of the first to play this mix that is a forerunner of Jazz. Jelly Roll will later claim to have invented Jazz in this year by combining Ragtime, Quadrilles and Blues.

The phonograph has been drastically improved. Victor and Columbia emerge as leaders in the phonograph field (at that time phonograph companies made records and vice versa). People have finally started to buy phonographs and records (cylinders) for home use. This will enable the rapid spread of popular music.

W.C. Handy has started a saxophone quartet. The saxophone was a novelty in 1902.

Trumpeter Joe Smith is born in Ripley, Ohio on June 28. Joe will become Bessie Smith's favorite accompanist.

Clarinetist Buster Bailey is born in Memphis. Buster will be raised on the music of W.C. Handy.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1903

W.C. Handy hears the Rural Blues played on a slide guitar (knife blade used as a slide) by an itinerant Blues guitarist in a railroad station in Tutwiler, Mississippi. It sparks a career for him and it is an important event in Amercan popular music history.

Sidney Bechet borrows his brother's clarinet. The rest is history.

Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke is born in Davenport, Iowa on March 10. Bix's family is a proper Victorian type family and they do not approve of popular music as a career.

Jimmy Rushing (Mr. Five-by Five) is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on August 26. Jimmy will be the primary male singer for the Count Basie band.

Valve trombonist/arranger Brad Gowans born in Billerica, MA.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1904

Trombonist Glenn Miller is born in Clarinda, Iowa. Miller was one of several star sideman in the 1920's trend-setting Ben Pollack Orchestra. He roomed with fellow band-mate Benny Goodman. Young trumpeter Harry James drove the bus.

Stride piano player and composer Thomas "Fats" Waller is born on May 21 in Harlem as one of twelve children born to Edward Murtin Waller.

Tenor saxophone giant Coleman Hawkins is born in St. Joseph, Missouri on November 21.

Eddie Lang is born in Philadelphia, PA as Salvatore Massaro. Lang will become the first jazz guitarist and will thus influence all to come.

Alto saxophone and clarinet player Henry "Buster" Smith is born on August 26 in Ellis County, Texas. Buster became a favorite of Charlie Parker and is credited with teaching Charlie quite a bit.

Boogie Woogie piano pioneer Clarence "Pinetop" Smith is born.

Boogie Woogie piano pioneer Pete Johnson is born in Kansas City, MO.

Bass saxophonist Adrian Rollini is born in New York City on June 28.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1905

Trombonist Tommy Dorsey born, Shenandoah, PA. Dorsey recorded with Bix Beiderbeck in the 1920's and was in demand as a studio musician. He became the leader of the "General Motors" of the big band era, when his band featured arrangments by Sy Oliver, singers Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford and the Pied Pipers, drummer Buddy Rich and trumpeter Ziggy Elman.

Sidney Bechet becomes virtuoso clarinetist George Baquet's protege and he sits in with trumpeter Freddie Keppard's band as a 8 year old child.

Earl "Fatha" Hines, one of the most important Jazz piano players of all times, is born in Duquesne, PA on December 28.

Twelve string guitarist and Rural Blues man Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter meets Blues man Blind Lemon Jefferson in a Dallas saloon. A partnership is formed.

Boogie piano player Meade Lux Lewis is born in Louisville, KY.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1906

Duke Ellington begins studying piano at age seven. Duke's piano teacher is somewhat appropriately named Mrs. Clinkscales.

Alto saxophone great and Ellington band member Johnny Hodges is born in Cambridge, Massachesetts on July 25.

Clarinetist and Ellington band member Barney Bigard is born in New Orleans, Lousiania on March 3. Bigard and Sidney Bechet will eventually introduce the Duke to true Jazz.

Saxophonist Bud Freeman is born on April 13.

Cornetist and key Dixieland figure Wild Bill Davison is born in Defiance, Ohio on January 5.

Trumpeter Frankie Newton born in Emory, VA.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1907

New Orleans Blues trumpet pioneer Buddy Bolden runs amok and is committed to the state hospital at Angola on June 5. Buddy will spend the rest of his life there and will, sadly, never be recorded.

Trumpet player Rex Stewart of the Ellington orchestra is born in Philadelphia, Pa on February 22.

Trombone player Benny Morton of the Basie band is born in New York City on January 31.

Alto sax man Benny Carter is born in New York City on August 8.

Popular band leader Cab Calloway is born on December 24 in Rochester, N.Y.

Piano player Joe Turner (not Big Joe) is born in Baltimore, Md. on November 3.

Boogie Woogie piano player Albert Ammons is born in Chicago, Ill.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1908

Vibraphone pioneer Lionel Hampton born in Birmingham, Al. Raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During a stint with Les Hite's band on Central Avenue in Los Angeles, he joined the Benny Goodman Quartet, which, along with pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Gene Krupa, became the first integrated, commercially accepted jazz group. He has fronted his own Big Bands since Sept. 1940. Biggest hits: "Flying Home" and "Midnight Sun". Many early Bop stars began in his band.

Trumpeter Freddie Keppard and his Creoles were playing more powerful Jazz in New Orleans than the Original Dixieland Jazz Band will play in 1917. Keppard was not recorded until many years later because he was afraid of having his style stolen.

Trumpeter Cootie Williams of the Ellington band is born in Mobil, Alabama on July 24.

Dixieland trumpeter Max Kaminsky is born in Brockton, Mass. on September 7.

Boogie Woogie piano player Sammy Price is born in Texas.

Columbia produces the first two-sided disc.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1909

Tenor saxophone innovator Coleman Hawkins begins playing the piano at age five.

Tenor saxophone innovator Lester Young is born in Woodville, Mississippi on August 27. Lester's family moved to New Orleans and Lester toured the midwest as a child with his father Billy's barnstorming band.

Tenor saxophone great Ben Webster is born in Kansas City, MO on February 27. At some future date, Ben will save his rival Lester Young from drowning.

Benny Goodman is born in the Maxwell street ghetto in Chicago to Russian immigrant parents on May 30.

Drummer Gene Krupa is born in Chicago. He is the first to use and record with a full drumset in the 1920's with Eddie Condon. He will become a wild, flashy Swing Era icon who leads his own popular big band after skyrocketing to fame with Benny Goodman. He will be the drummer on "Sing, Sing, Sing" at Carnegie Hall in 1938. He will feature Roy Eldridge, Anita O'Day and Gerry Mulligan in his big band in 1940's. He will lead small groups and tour with JATP through 1950's. He will co-own a drum school in NYC with Cozy Cole.

Blues publishing pioneer W.C. Handy brings saxophones into his dance band.

Trombone player Dickie Wells of the Basie band is born in Tennessee on June 10.

Progressive Swing band leader Claude Thornhill is born in Terra Haute, IN on August 10.

Trumpeter Roland Bernard "Bunny" Berigan is born in Fox Lake, Wisconsin.

Trumpeter Jonah Jones born in Louisville, KY.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1910

Ragtime is still popular, but it is dying.

The first non-American Ragtime sheet music appears in London, England. English musician Vic Filmer begins playing Rags. American black music begins to gain appeal in Europe.

Dance craze starts. Foxtrot, etc.

Leadbelly hears New Orleans Jazz and is not intrigued or impressed.

Saxophonist Leon "Chu" Berry is born in Wheeling, W. Va. on September 13.

Jean Baptiste "Django" Reinhardt is born in Liberchies, Belgium on January 23 to a gypsy family. Django will become the first European to have a major influence on American Jazz players.

Piano virtuoso Art Tatum is born in Toledo, Ohio on October 13.

Clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw (Arthur Jacob Arshawsky) is born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He will grow up in New Haven, Connecticut.

Jazz and Blues proponent John Henry Hammond is born in New York City.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1911

Blues shouter Big Joe Turner is born in Kansas City, Mo. on May 18.

Trumpeter Roy Eldridge is born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on January 30. Eldridge was an excellent player and is viewed, maybe unfairly, as the link between Armstrong and the Boppers. Roy will eventually get the nickname Little Jazz because of his diminutive size.

Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson is born in New Orleans on October 26.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1912

W.C. Handy writes Memphis Blues. It becomes a big hit and begins the publishing of the Blues.

Classic Blues singer Bessie Smith begins work as a dancer in a vaudeville show.

Trumpeter Freddie Keppard's band leaves New Orleans for parts unknown.

Louis Armstrong forms a vocal quartet with some of his boyhood friends in New Orleans.

Pianist Teddy Wilson is born in Austin, Texas on November 24.

Band leader Stan Kenton is born in Wichita, Kansas on February 19.

Arranger Gil Evans is born in Toronto, Canada on May 13.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1913

Thirteen year old Louis Armstrong is sent to a waif's home after he fires a pistol in celebration. This is where he learns to play cornet. The rest is history.

Louis Armstrong is proud when he leads the waif's home band through his neighborhood.

Fourteen year old Duke Ellington visits pool halls and burlesque theatres. He is introduced to the entertainment world that he will soon be a part of.

According to stride pianist James P. Johnson, Luckyeth Roberts is the best stride piano player in New York City at this time.

The stride pianists are still playing Ragtime as the New Orleans players did a generation before. So we will see an interesting evolution in their playing over the next few years that parallels the beginning of Jazz in New Orleans.

Boogie Woogie piano player Jimmy Yancey quits vaudeville to work as a Chicago White Sox groundskeeper.

On November 21, Coleman Hawkins' parents give him a C-Melody saxophone for his ninth birthday.

British musician Vic Filmer brings Ragtime to Paris.

Art Tatum is three years old and is already picking out hymns on the piano in Toledo.

Future bandleader Woody Herman is born in Milwaukee, WI. on May 16.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1914

W.C. Handy writes St Louis Blues. This will be his biggest hit. The Blues is going full tilt.

There is a major impetus around this time for the Europeanization of the Blues. Up till now the Blues form varied between 13.5 and 15 bars to suit the lyrics or the mood of the performer. Eventually a 12 bar form based on the 1-4-5 chord progression (what we know as the Blues today) will become standard. This occurred for three reasons: 1) appealled to whites, 2) solved problems understanding, playing and notating the Blues 3) established harmonies and a form for band members to work with.

Sidney Bechet is now playing in the Eagle Band with Jack Carey and Buddy Petit.

Duke Ellington hears piano player Harvey Brooks in Philadelphia and is inspired to learn Ragtime.

The Freddie Keppard band turns up in Los Angeles.

Louis Armstrong is released from the waif's home where he learned his life's trade.

Innovative drummer Kenny Clarke is born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on January 9. Clarke will become the first Bop drummer.

Bass player Leroy "Slam" Stewart is born in Englewood, N.J. on September 21.

Ralph Ellison is born in Oklahoma City on March 1. He will achieve critical acclaim with his novel, Invisible Man, in 1952. Ellison, who attended Tusegee Institute with the intention of pursuing a career in music, will write influential essays on jazz music and on African American folk culture.

Tin Pan Alley publishers establish the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1915

Arranger and pianist Billy Strayhorn of the Ellington band is born in Dayton, Ohio on November 29. Billy will be raised in North Carolina and will be schooled in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Jazz singer Billie "Lady Day" Holiday is born in Baltimore, MD on July 7.

Ragtime composer Scott Joplin produces Treemonisha (a Ragtime opera which he previously wrote) in Harlem. Public reaction is indifferent and it breaks Joplin.

Pop/Jazz singing idol Frank Sinatra is born in Hoboken, N.J. on December 12.

RCA offers to record Freddie Keppard. He turns them down and misses the chance to be the first Jazz performer to record because he is afraid that his style will be copied.

Trumpeter Freddie Keppard's band turns up in Coney Island.

Dixieland trumpeter Bobby Hackett is born in Providence, Rhode Island on January 31.

At this point, Jean Goldkette dislikes pre-Jazz music so much that he quits Lamb's Cafe in Chicago rather than share the stage with Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1916

Louis Armstrong begins playing the bars in Storyville for $1.25 a night.

Bechet is in Joseph "King" Oliver's Olympia Band, but will soon leave for Chicago. He will work with Tony Jackson and then Freddie Keppard there.

Coleman Hawkins has learned the saxophone and is already playing dances at the age of twelve.

Guitarist, pianist and vibrophonist Bulee "Slim" Gaillard is born in Detroit, Michigan on Jan 4. Slim became popular as half of the famed duo Slim and Slam with Slam Stewart on bass.

Trumpeter Harry James born, Albany, GA. 3/15. Played with Ben Pollack mid-30's. Rose to fame with Benny Goodman's band in late 30's. Started own band 1939. Discovered and developed young vocalist Frank Sinatra. Led big bands off and on until his death on 7/5/83. Married to actress Betty Grable. Biggest Hits: "You Made Me Love You", "Two O'Clock Jump","Ciribiribin". Louis Armstrong believed James was one of the best trumpeters who ever blew.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1917

Scott Joplin dies from syphilis related complications in a mental institution in New York City.

The history of recorded Jazz begins on February 26 when the white band the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (originally, Original Dixieland Jass Band ) records Livery Stable Blues at Victor Studios in New York City. The ODJB was from New Orleans and consisted of Nick LaRocca on cornet, Larry Shields on clarinet, Eddie "Daddy" Edwards on trombone, Henry Ragas on piano and Tony Sbarbaro on drums. Many black bands of the time were probably producing far more authentic and better music. Never the less, the Jazz Age begins. Trumpeter Freddie Keppard had refused the chance to make the first Jazz record because he feared that his style would be copied.

New Orleans Jazz is a melting pot for the Blues, Ragtime, Marching Band music, etc. It can be thought of as an impressionistic view of these forms, just as Impressionistic painting gives a novel view of what we normally see.

Sidney Bechet leaves New Orleans for good and will shortly make his way to New York and Europe.

Duke Ellington leaves high school short of graduation and is earning a reputation as a piano player around Washington, D.C.

Fifteen year old Bix Beiderbecke hears the ODJB records and becomes enamored.

Thelonious Monk is born on October 10 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. His family will move to New York City when he is still an infant.

Future Bop trumpet innovator John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie is born on October 21 in Cheraw, South Carolina.

Stride pianist James P. Johnson makes the piano roll After Tonight. From this it is obvious that J.P. is still playing Ragtime at this time.

Pianist and singer Nat "King" Cole is born in Montgomery, Alabama on March 17. Nat will become an innovator by forming the first piano-guitar-bass trio.

Drummer Buddy Rich born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on September 30. One of the highest paid child stars of the 1920's, he was known as "Traps The Drum Wonder", and began playing the vaudeville circuits with his parent's act. During the Swing Era, he was featured in the bands of Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James. He led his own first big band in the late 1940's, and played on and off with JATP and again with Harry James until 1966. It was then that he formed his most famous big band, which he led until his death at age 69 on April 2, 1987.

Future Bob Crosby Bearcat trumpeter Billy Butterfield is born in Middleton, Ohio on Jan 14.

Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson is born in Houston, Texas on December 18. Even at this age, the "Cleanhead" nickname probably applies.

Future Bop composer and arranger Tadd Dameron is born.

When he is seven years old, Artie Shaw's family moves to New Haven, Connecticut. Here, Artie is tormented mercilessly for being Jewish.

John Lee Hooker is born to a Baptist minister and sharecropper in Clarksdale, Miss. He will be one of 11 children. His father will discourage his musical career.

After Freddie Keppard declines to be recorded, Jazz gains first national exposure with Victor's release of the Original Dixieland Band's "Livery Stable Blues. This release outsells by many times over any 78s by the days recording stars like Enrico Caruso, John Phillip Sousa or the US Marine Military Band. Sales estimates are around 500K in the first year. The group consisted of cornetist Nick LaRocca, clarinetist Larry Shields, trombonist Eddie Edwards, pianist Harry Ragas, and drummer Tony Sbarbaro.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1918

Joe "King" Oliver leaves Kid Ory's band to front his own band in Chicago.

Clarinetist Jimmy Noone leaves New Orleans for Chicago.

Louis Armstrong is hired by Kid Ory to replace Joe "King" Oliver on cornet.

Armstrong is also hired by Fate Marable to work the showboats.

Armstrong learns to read music while working for Fate Marable.

Louis Armstrong marries New Orleans prostitute Daisy Parker.

Although not a prolific songwriter, Louis Armstrong writes the well known song "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate."

Duke Ellington marries Edna Thompson. The Duke is currently doing very well supplying bands for dances and parties. Duke's sidemen at this point are Toby Hardwicke on bass and saxes, Arthur Whetsol on trumpet, Sonny Greer on drums and Elmer Snowden on banjo.

Bix Beiderbecke has just begun to play the cornet.

Earl "Fatha" Hines is hired by Lois Deppe (a man) in Pittsburgh to play piano. This is Earl's first job.

Coleman Hawkins attends school in Chicago and gets to hear early Jazz players such as Jimmy Noone there.

Ella Fitzgerald is born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25.

The so-called "Lost Generation" of white American youths is ripe for a new kind of music.

On January 1, James Reese Europe arrives in France.

On March 18, James Reese Europe's 369th Infantry Regiment (The Hellfighters) Band begins a six week tour of twenty-five French cities. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is the drum major.

On April 20, James Reese Europe accompanies a french combat unit into battle and becomes the first black to face combat during WWI.

Will Marion Cook's Southern Syncopated Orchestra is formed. Will Cook will shortly become a great influence on Duke Ellington's composing skills.

Pianist Hank Jones is born in Detroit.

Vocalese singer Eddie Jefferson is born in Pittsburgh, PA on August 3.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1919

After years of lynching and other mistreatment of blacks by whites, the NAACP promotes the slogan "The new Negro has no fear". This type of thinking will further the cause of Jazz.

In this year, 70 blacks are killed by KKK mobs. More than 10 of these are soldiers still in uniform.

Sidney Bechet moves to New York City and joins Will Marion Cook's Southern Syncopated Orchestra. Bechet travels to Europe with the orchestra where he will gain accolades from Classical musicians as a distinguished musician. It is at this time that Bechet discovers the soprano saxophone.

Accolades (mentioned above) given to Sidney Bechet by Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet appear in Revue Romande. This article is the first serious article on Jazz to appear anywhere.

In February, James Reese Europe and his Hellfighters return home. They go on a tour of the U.S. in the Spring.

On May 9, in Boston, James Reese Europe is confronted in his dressing room by Herbert Wright (one of his men). They have words because Wright thinks that Europe is treating him unfairly. Wright plunges a penknife into Europes neck. Europe bleeds to death.

It is probable that young Bix Beiderbecke heard Louis Armstrong play on the riverboats that stopped in Davenport, Iowa during this year.

Innovative guitarist Charlie Christian is born in Dallas, Texas. His father is a blind guitarist. Christian will be influenced by Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Lang and Django Reinhardt.

Hard Bop drummer Art Blakey is born in Pittsburgh, Pa on October 11. Art will become one of the major Hard Bop leaders along with Horace Silver in the late 1950's.

Innovative pianist Lenny Tristano is born in Chicago on March 19 during a major flu epidemic. His eyes are affected and he will eventually be completely blind.

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band visits England and triggers an interest in the new music.

Free Jazz pianist Herbie Nichols is born New York City on January 3.

The Southern Syncopated Orchestra is in Europe with Sidney Bechet. On November 15, conductor Ernest Ansermet hears Bechet in London and believes that he is a genius.

The Scrap Iron Jazz Band (from the Hellfighters) makes a series of records in Paris.

Pianist George Shearing is born in London on August 13.

Singer Anita O'Day is born in Chicago on December 18.

Bandleader Paul Whiteman leaves San Francisco for Atlantic City.

Bassist Al McKibbon born in Chicago, IL.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1920

Prohibition of alcohol begins. In many respects, prohibition has the opposite of its intended effect. For example, before prohibition, few, if any women drank in bars. However, women were very likely to drink in speakeasys. Prohibition indirectly furthers the cause of Jazz.

Armstrong drops in on a St. Louis dance and the band he is with blows away the most popular band in town with New Orleans Jazz.

Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker (a.k.a. Bird or Yardbird) is born on August 29 in Kansas City, Kansas.

Ellington has developed into a decent and fairly successful band leader earning about $10,000 a year to support wife Edna and one year old Mercer.

The first recorded Blues appears when Mamie Smith records Crazy Blues. This kicks off the Classic Blues craze of the 1920's.

Over forty prominent New Orleans Jazzmen have moved to Chicago.

Somebody discovers that the New York brownstone basement (being narrow and running from mainstreet to back alley) is well suited to use as an speakeasy. In time, the cellars of New York City will become riddled with speakeasys providing numerous opportunities for Jazz musicians.

The cabaret business begins in New York. This will eventually be the cause of the shift of Jazz from Chicago to New York.

This year marks the beginning of an age of great interest in black arts and music (Jazz). The young future Bop players are being born. They will be raised in an era which will allow them to want to rebel. Thus, Bop will begin in about twenty years.

Future MJQ pianist John Lewis is born in LaGrange, Ilinois on May 3. Lewis will grow up in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The New Orleans Rhythm Kings are playing in Chicago at Friar's Inn.

Adrian Rollini begins playing bass saxophone with the California Ramblers (a popular New York City dance band). Rollini was one of the top Jazz saxophonist's in the 1920's. He will later play with Bix Beiderbecke.

Scat singer and composer Babs Gonzalez is born Newark, N.J. on July 12.

Paul Whiteman and his Band record the classic Whispering in New York City. Whiteman's band does not play true Jazz but the so-called symphonic Jazz.

After Sophie Tucker fails to attend a recording session, Okeh records Mamie Smith performing "Crazy Blues." This release would be the first "race" or blues recording and would sell over 250,000 copies, averaging 7500 sales a week in the early stages of its release.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1921

Future Ellington trumpeter Bubber Miley sees King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band at the Dreamland Cafe in Chicago and becomes interested in Jazz. Bubber will learn to play blue notes and growls in imitation of Oliver. These growls and slurs will later become a trademark of Ellington which are passed down to Cootie Williams and other future trumpeters.

Bix Beiderbecke begins attending the Lake Forest Academy near Chicago. He will get the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of New Orleans and Chicago Jazz.

Frankie Trumbauer works briefly for Isham Jones at the College Inn in Chicago. He says that he is happy when the black waiters smile when he plays because that tells him that he is doing it right.

Sidney Bechet returns from his trip to Europe. Musicians such as Duke Ellington become more impressed with Bechet's abilities. Sidney will eventually play for Duke for a short while.

Fletcher Henderson is on the road with Ethel Waters. He hears Armstrong for the first time and immediately offers him a job. Armstrong turns him down.

James P. Johnson's "Worried and Lonesome Blues" and "Carolina Shout" begin to approach Jazz. At any rate, Johnson becomes the pioneer of stride piano with these recordings.

Saxophone player Coleman Hawkins joins Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds.

Young Lenny Tristano (age 2) takes an interest in piano.

Saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis born.

Pop Jazz pianist Errol Garner is born in Pittsburgh, Pa on June 15.

Gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe is born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas on March 20.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1922

Joe "King" Oliver's Creole Jazz Band is in Chicago at the Lincoln Gardens. Oliver sends for Armstrong who is still in New Orleans.

Armstrong goes to Chicago on August 8 to join King Oliver's band. Armstrong is afraid to play because Oliver sounds so good.

Duke Ellington goes to New York City with Sonny Greer and banjo player Elmer Snowden. Duke meets his idol James P. Johnson as well as Fats Waller and Willie "The Lion" Smith.

Bix Beiderbecke is expelled from the Lake Forest Academy.

The original Austin High Gang begins to frequent the Friar's Inn in Chicago. Currently, gang members include Frank Teschemacher (clarinet), Jimmy McPartland (cornet), Richard McPartland (guitar and banjo) and Lawrence "Bud" Freeman (sax). Others such as Gene Krupa (drums) will join later.

At this point, Coleman Hawkins is a well schooled musician, perhaps the best in Jazz. He is asked to join Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds. This group will take him to New York where Fletcher Henderson will eventually hire him.

Alto saxophonist Benny Carter hears Frank Trumbauer on a recording by Chicago's Benson Orchestra. Carter will later claim Trumbauer as a major influence. Since Lester Young also does this, that makes two major Jazz sax players who claim to owe a lot to Trumbauer.

Django Reinhardt's mother gives him a banjo, teaches him the rudiments and within weeks, he is playing cafes with his father Jean Vees.

Fats Waller makes his first of hundreds of piano rolls.

Innovative bassist, composer and bandleader Charles Mingus is born in Nogales, Arizona on April 22. Charles will grow up in Watts and will be the most well-rounded musician in Jazz by the Modal and Free Jazz phases.

Woody Herman is currently nine years old and a child vaudeville star who sings and dances. He begins playing alto and soprano saxophones (he took up the clarinet later).

Carmen McRae is born in New York, N.Y. on April 8.

Vocalese singer King Pleasure is born in Oakdale, Tennessee on March 24.

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band is now playing commercial music such as Fox Trots. They've sold out.

Paul Whiteman controls twenty-eight bands on the east coast. In this year, he will gross over $1,000,000 (a tidy sum for producing pseudo-Jazz in the early 20's).

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1923

King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band with Louis Armstrong on second cornet makes their first recordings. Armstrong is first recorded on March 31 on the Gennet recording of Chimes Blues. Other members of the band were Warren "Baby" Dodds on drums, Honore Dutrey on trombone, Bill Johnson on bass, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, and Lil Hardin on piano. The most notable recording was the legendary Dippermouth Blues which was written by Oliver.

Jelly Roll Morton moves to Chicago. By now, Jelly is more interested in his music than he is in pimping and conning. Morton will record his first piano solos during this year. The list of songs includes Grandpa's Spells, Kansas City Stomps, Milenburg Joys, Wolverine Blues and The Pearls. Morton is at the frontline of Jazz with Bechet and Oliver at this point.

Early occurance of the "color barrier" being broken when Jelly Roll Morton sits in with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.

In late January, Duke Ellington pays his way into the segregated section of the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. to hear soprano saxophone master Sidney Bechet. This is Ellington's first encounter with authentic New Orleans Jazz.

Duke Ellington returns to New York City after being persuaded by Fats Waller. His first stay had been a disaster. He works for Ada "Bricktop" Smith. His first job is at the Hollywood Club (later the Kentucky Club). He also works at Barron's in Harlem. The Duke finally becomes the official band leader. Snowden, the original band leader, leaves and is replaced by Fred Guy.

Ellington makes his first recording (on a cylinder - acoustic recording still most used). It is a stride piano piece called Jig Walk.

On June 30, Sidney Bechet cuts his first two sides "Wild Cat Blues" and "Kansas City Blues" with Clarence Williams' Blue Five.

Tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins joins the Fletcher Henderson band. It is with this band that Coleman will develop his first reasonable tenor sax style. This style will be based on the trumpet style of Louis Armstrong.

The Fletcher Henderson band opens at the Club Alabam on 44th Street just off Broadway with Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax.

By now, Bix Beiderbecke is occasionally playing on the riverboats.

Benny Moten Band cuts their first records. These records are marred by some obnoxious clarinet effects by Herman "Woody" Walder.

Bessie Smith records "Downhearted Blues" and "Gulf Coast Blues." "Downhearted Blues" sells 780,000 copies in less than six months. Bessie is an instant star. Bessie marries Jack Gee, a Philadelphia policeman, who is primarily interested in her money.

Gertrude "Ma Rainey" Pridgett is recorded for the first time this year.

The Lois Deppe band with Earl Hines on piano cuts a few records. Hines winds up in Chicago as a result of the popularity gained. He plays as a single using a portable piano in a cafe. At this time, the combination Stride/Blues piano style which Hines pioneered was already well formed. Hines will become the most influential early pianist in Jazz.

Future Bop trumpeter extraordinare Fats Navarro is born in Key West, Florida.

Hard Bop pianist Elmo Hope is born.

Vibraphonist Milt Jackson born 1923 in Detroit, Michigan.

March 12, 1923: Gennett begins to record the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. They would release the soon to be jazz standards, "Tin Roof Blues," "Bugle Call Blues," and "Farewell Blues." Members of NORK include Paul Mares, coronet, George Brunies, trombone, Leon Rappolo, clarinet, Mel Stitzel, piano, & Ben Pollock, banjo

April 6, 1923 - Gennett records and releases King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band. This would be the first recordings to feature Louis Armstrong and the incredible two coronet leads. Recordings from this session include "Canal Street Blues,' "Chimes Blues," "Weather Bird Rag," "Dippermouth Blues," "Froggie More," "Just Gone" and a few others. Member of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band include: King Oliver & Louis Armstrong on coronet, Honore Dutrey on trombone, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano, Bill Johnson on piano and Baby Dodds on drums.

June 1923 - Jelly Roll Morton begins to record with Gennett, including a session with New Orleans Rhythm Kings ("Mr. Jelly Lord"), often considered the first inter-racial jazz recording.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1924

Louis Armstrong marries piano player and composer Lil Hardin on February 5.

Armstrong, now big news, accompanies the now supreme Classic Blues singers Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith (notably "St Louis Blues") and others.

Armstrong reluctantly quits the Oliver band in June at Lil's request.

Armstrong attempts to get a job with Sammy Stewart but is turned down flat. Armstrong says that he "wasn't dicty enough" for Stewart.

Armstrong arrives in New York City on September 30.

Armstrong joins the Fletcher Henderson band in October at Lil's insistence. During Armstrong's year with Henderson, this band will become the most important early big band. This is the band that will be the model for the swing bands of the next decade.

Ellington writes first revue score for Chocolate Kiddies and records the novelty song "Choo Choo" for Blue Disc label. Ellington is still not doing Jazz at this time.

Sidney Bechet takes a summer job playing dances in New England with Ellington.

In October, Ellington and his Washingtonians are at the Hollywood Club on 49th street and Broadway.

Earl Hines forms a group in Chicago. His apartment is next to Armstrong's.

Bix Beiderbecke (cornet), Min Lelbrook (tuba), Jimmy Hartwell (clarinet), George Johnson (tenor sax), Bob Gilette (banjo), Vic Moore (drums), Dick Voynow(piano) and Al Gandee (trombone) form the Wolverines (named after Jelly Roll Morton's song "Wolverine Blues").

On February 18, Bix Beiderbecke and the Wolverines record at the Gennett studios in Richmond, Indiana. Their first record is "Fidgety Feet". Bix is still banging down heavily on the beat.

Jean Goldkette lures Bix Beiderbecke from the Wolverines only to fire him a few weeks later when he finds that he can't read music.

In October, Bix Beiderbecke and the Wolverines (now called the Personality Kids) are at the Cinderella Ballroom on 41st street and Broadway.

Hoagy Carmichael first hears Bix Beiderbecke with the Wolverines and is quite impressed. Says years later, "I could feel my hands trying to shake and getting cold when I saw Bix getting out his horn. Just four notes...But he didn't blow them -- he hit 'em like a mallet hits a chime..."

At twenty-one, Bix Beiderbecke has already become a recognizable figure among Jazz musicians. His playing represents one of the few styles which oppose rather than imitate Armstrong. He will be influential to Lester Young on tenor sax as well as the future Boppers via Young and directly.

Coleman Hawkins joins Fletcher Henderson's band.

Fletcher Henderson is invited to play the Roseland Ballroom on 51st street and Broadway in Manhattan during the summer of this year.

In October, the Fletcher Henderson band with Louis Armstrong is at the Roseland Ballroom on 51st street and Broadway in Manhattan.

Coleman Hawkins is inspired by Louis Armstrong to develop a distinctive saxophone style.

Kansas City bands are beginning to play a style with a four even beat ground beat (New Orleans Jazz had a distinct two beat ground beat behind a 4/4 melody). This paved the way for more modern forms of Jazz. Charlie Parker as a child growing up in K.C. heard this music. Count Basie is later quoted as saying "I can't dig that two-beat jive the New Orleans cats play; cause my boys and I got to have four heavy beats to a bar and no cheating."

Bessie Smith, most famous of the Classic Blues singers, begins her period of greatest fame. She will be recorded with Armstrong, trumpeter Joe Smith, Don Redman, James P. Johnson, Charlie Green, Fletcher Henderson and others over the next few years.

Fats Waller is now twenty and is playing rent parties in New York City.

Trumpeter Tommy Ladnier is playing in Joe Oliver's band in Chicago. Ladnier was brought to Chicago as a child.

Django Reinhardt switches to guitar and is now playing the clubs of Paris.

Art Tatum (only in his early teens) is already playing rent parties.

Benny Moten band is moving towards the New Orleans style. The song "South" has breaks which could have been played by Oliver or Armstrong.

Clarence Williams from New Orleans opens a record store in Chicago.

George Gershwin writes "Rhapsody in Blue".

Earl "Bud" Powell is born in New York City.

Future Bop trombone innovator J.J. Johnson is born in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bop singer Sarah Vaughan is born in Newark, N.J.

Singer Dinah Washington is born.

Mahalia Jackson's idols are Bessie Smith and Italian opera singer Enrico Caruso.

Paul Whiteman makes Jazz "respectable" with his February 21 concert at Aeolian Hall in New York City. The first song is an authentic version of ODJB's "Livery Stable Blues" which is merely meant to show how crude the real thing is, but most fans like it better than the "Symphonic Jazz" which follows.

May 1924 - Bix Biederbecke's Wolverine's records college student, Hoagy Carmichael's song "Riverboat Shuffle,' for Gennett.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1925

Armstrong starts to work with Erskine Tate, Carol Dickerson and others.

Armstrong returns to Chicago in November and plays the Dreamland Cafe.

On November 12, Armstrong records the first of the classic hot fives with Lil Hardin on piano, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Kid Ory on trombone and Johnny St. Cyr on banjo and guitar. First tune was the Lil Hardin composition "My Heart". First scat solo was on the song "Heebie Jeebies" allegedly when Armstrong accidently dropped the sheet music. The recordings were originally issued on Okeh and can be found on Columbia/Sony Hot Fives and Sevens series CD's as well as on JSP.

New Orleans giants Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet are now playing together in the Red Onion Jazz Babies with Blues singer Alberta Hunter. At this point, Bechet is the superior Jazz player. Recordings can be found on Classic CD - The Chronological Sidney Bechet 1923-1926 and EPM Musique CD - The Complete 1923-1926 Clarence Williams Sessions.

Sidney Bechet is Armstrong's only serious musical rival.

Sidney Bechet is also playing with the Clarence Williams Blue Five at this time.

Sidney Bechet opens his own cabaret on Seventh Avenue in Harlem. It is called the Club Basha (most New Yorker's pronounce his name that way). The house band is led by Bechet and includes Johnny Hodges.

Sidney Bechet sails to Paris in Seprember.

La Revue Negre introduces Sidney Bechet and Josephine Baker to Paris.

In February, Bix Beiderbecke attempts to "straighten up and fly right" when he continues his formal studies at Iowa State University. The effort lasts only eighteen days, however, and Bix is off on the road again playing Jazz.

C-Melody Sax player Frankie Trumbauer hires Bix Beiderbecke to play cornet in his new nine piece orchestra.

The Ellington band is still not a Jazz band, but a commercial orchestra playing Pop tunes and dance numbers. However, the addition of New Orleans players Sidney Bechet on clarinet and Bubber Miley on trumpet begin to turn the band around. Miley's signature mutes and growls (borrowed from Oliver) become Ellington's signature passed on to a number of horn players in the band throughout the decades.

Bassist Walter Page forms the first version of the Blue Devils.

Benny Moten's band is now a solid New Orleans style group even though they are from Kansas City. The trumpeter Lammar Wright is now playing with a fast terminal vibrato. 18th Street Strut uses Oliver-style phrases.

Twelve-string guitarist and Folk and Blues singer Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter is released from a Texas Penitentiary where he was serving time for killing a man in a fight.

Lyrical trumpeter Joe Smith begins to play with the Fletcher Henderson band. Joe is one of the most underrated trumpeters in early Jazz. Joe is often compared to Bix.

Ma Rainey's piano player Thomas A. Dorsey is celebrated for his risque tunes. He will soon, however, become the father of modern gospel music.

Red Norvo who is the first important mallet instrument player in Jazz begins on the xylophone.

Bud Freeman switches from C-Melody to Tenor sax.

Saxophonist Art Pepper is born on September 1.

Pianist Oscar Peterson is born in Montreal.

Mel Torme the Velvet Fog is born.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1926

On February 26, Armstrong, Kid Ory (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Johnny St. Cyr (guitar) and Lil Armstrong (piano) record the second set of Hot Fives for Okeh.

Armstrong leaves Dreamland (Chicago) in the spring to join Carroll Dickerson's band at the Sunset Cafe (Chicago's brightest pleasure spot). The Sunset is Chicago's most succesful black and tan. Joe Glaser is the Sunset's manager. His mother is the Sunset's owner.

Armstrong is playing for Erskine Tate's Orchestra and Carol Dickerson's Orchestra. This is the year that Armstrong and Earl Hines meet.

King Oliver and his Dixie Syncopators are playing at the Plantation Cafe in Chicago.

Joe "King" Oliver will do his last eventful music this year with his Dixie Syncopators group. Joe does a remake of his landmark "Dippermouth Blues". It is called "Sugarfoot Strut".

In September, Jelly Roll Morton cuts his first band recordings with his Red Hot Peppers group. Jelly Roll had acquired Lester and Walter Montrose as publishers. Notable songs are "Deep Creek", "The Pearls", "Wolverine Blues", "Dead Man Blues" and King Oliver's "Doctor Jazz".

On an autumn day on Chicago's south side, Jelly Roll Morton rides a big gray mule with a sign that advertises the Victor Recording Company's recording of his "Sidewalk Blues".

The Ellington band has finally taken shape. They are now playing bonafide New York Jazz. Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton on trombone and Harry Carney on clarinet join Ellington. Ellington forms a significant partnership with music publisher and band booker Irving Mills.

Duke Ellington and his band record "East St Louis Toodle-o" on November 29. This is Ellington's first signature song and his first important original composition.

Kansas City, Missouri becomes the wildest city in America (a perfect match for Jazz) when Tom "Boss" Pendergast (the Democratic boss of Jackson county) begins his reign over the city.

Bix Beiderbecke is working in a Frankie Trumbauer band with Pee Wee Russell on Clarinet.

In May, Jean Goldkette offers Trumbauer a job as musical director of one of his bands (we'll call them the Goldkette band, but the real name is the Victor Recording Orchestra). Trumbauer accepts on the condition that Bix Beiderbecke can also join the band.

The Goldkette band with Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauer start playing the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan in early October.

The Goldkette band and the Fletcher Henderson band do battle at the Roseland on October 13. Henderson is caught by surprise and is defeated by the likes of Beiderbecke and Trumbauer.

Sidney Bechet visits Berlin. On learning that American reedman Gavin Bushell is there and has a Great Dane, Sidney insists that his Doberman-Bulldog mix and Bushell's Great Dane fight to prove which is the toughest.

Sidney Bechet visits Moscow.

Until now, Bechet was the only black saxophonist of importance. Coleman Hawkins is beginning to change that. Currently, most Jazz saxophonist's are white (not many used saxophones, only whites could afford them). Hawkins admires Adrian Rollini.

Lester Young is meanwhile being influenced by Frankie Trumbauer and trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke.

Benny Goodman joins the Ben Pollack band.

On December 9, the Ben Pollack Band with Benny Goodman on clarinet records "Deed I Do"/"He's the Last Word" for Victor. It is Benny Goodman's recording debut.

On the evening of December 9, Benny Goodman's father dies at the corner of Madison and Kostner streets in Chicago after being struck by a speeding auto. He never got to hear Benny's first recording done that very same day.

John Coltrane is born on September 23 in Hamlet, North Carolina.

Thelonious Monk, aged six, becomes interested in piano.

Jimmy Harrison is playing saxophone for Fletcher Henderson. Jimmy is beginning to create an influential Jazz trombone style that will rule for awhile.

Tommy Ladnier is playing trumpet for Fletcher Henderson. Tommy is one of the most underrated trumpeters of early Jazz.

Miles Davis is born in Alton, Illinois. Shortly after, the Davis family moves to East St. Louis, Illinois.

Hammond B-3 master Jimmy Smith is born in Norristown, PA.

Lenny Tristano begins to take piano lessons.

Swedish Jazz group called the Paramount Orchestra is formed.