History Of Jazz Timeline: 1940
Charlie Parker goes on the road with Jay McShann to Wichita, Kansas. He is recorded by the local radio. His sound is thin and light and he is still basically a Swing player. On the other hand, the jagged phrasing, fast triplets and sixteenth are there.
Charlie Christian is edging into something new both rhythmically and harmonically. He is presaging Bop. Parker usually gets most of the credit and Gillespie the rest. The Christian solo on a recording of Stardust also is showing influence of Django.
Dizzy deliberately uses major thirds over minor changes in the song Pickin' the Cabbage recorded in May. In June, he uses a diminished 9th on Bye, Bye Blues. These things are new.
Kenny Clarke is fired from the Teddy Hill band for his "odd" drumming.
Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Christian are occasionally beginning or ending phrases on 2nd and 4th beats. This is called "offbeat". The usual practice is to use the 1st or 3rd.
Henry Minton asks Teddy Hill to take over the management of his place on 118th Street. Strangely enough, Hill asks the recently fired Kenny Clarke to organize and front the band. The band is Clarke on drums, Thelonious Monk on piano, Nick Fenton bass and Joe Guy on trumpet. Dizzy Gillespie begins showing up regularly. The music is mainstream except for Clarke's "odd" drumming and Monk's unusual piano playing.
Bud Powell begins showing up at Minton's. He is not readily accepted, but Monk realizes that he has potential and supports him. Ironically, Bud will become a much more sought after Bop pianist than Monk. The genius Monk nevertheless will write the 1947 song In Walked Bud in his honor. See Blue Note CD Genius of Modern Music - Vol 1, a compilation of Monk's music. Powell's influence is not Monk, but Charlie Parker.
Swing is at its peak, but the seeds of Bebop have been sown and the Dixielanders are digging up the old music. Swing is doomed to fall.
Big band Swing is about to be done in by the war and economics. Small band Jazz is evolving along two distinct and opposing movements. The first is the New Orleans Revival or Dixieland. This produced little that was new musically. It was a white movement to revive and exploit the black New Orleans music of the 1920's. Some notable legends resurface including Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Kid Ory and Bunk Johnson. Some memorable records result. The other movement is distinctly new musically and sociologically. This movement is called Bebop, Rebop or simply Bop.
In addition, the small band Swing is still there and a new big band trend is afoot. This trend is called Progressive. Its proponents are Stan Kenton, Boyd Raeburn and Earle Spencer. This will eventually influence what will become Cool Jazz.
Claude Thornhill organizes a Swing band that, while not successful, presages Cool Jazz.
Trumpeter Oran "Hot Lips" Page becomes the first black musician who is a regular member and a featured artist in a white big band when he is hired by Artie Shaw.
Meanwhile, the most successful of the early Cuban bands is formed by a man named Machito. They are called Machito and his Afro-Cubans. They start as a completely Cuban band and slowly assimilate Jazz into their repertoire. They introduce more complex rhythms to the world of Jazz, however, they are primarily successful due to their trumpet player/arranger Mario Banza (Machito's brother-in-law and former Cab Calloway trumpet player).
Saxophones have all but taken over, but trumpeters such as Frankie Newton with the Teddy Hill band, Oran "Hot Lips" Page with Basie, Bill Coleman with Benny Carter and Teddy Hill and Charlie Shavers with Tommy Dorsey begin to strike back. Joe Thomas is excellent but will soon be forgotten.
There is a Trad Jazz revival in Europe. The Europeans discover Joe Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton.
All of Europe except England is under Hitler's control and thus Europe will remain in the Dixieland revival and Trad Jazz phase.
Ben Webster has broken free of the Coleman Hawkins imitator image and has developed a style of his own. After the Teddy Wilson band breaks up, he is hired by Ellington. He benefits and he brings a strong tenor influence to Ellington for the first time.
Ellington records Cottontail, a good swinger. It is actually a rearrangement of George Gerschwin's I've Got Rhythm. The feature player is tenor saxophonist Ben Webster who had recently come to the Ellington band. Cottontail anticipates Parker-style Bop.
Ellington records Ko-Ko which contains elements of modality, Jack the Bear, Morning Glory, Across the Track Blues and others.
According to Bluebird records and others, Ellington is beginning a peak era in his band's career. See the three CD set Duke Ellington - The Blanton-Webster Years on, you guessed it, Bluebird.
Trumpeter Cootie Williams leaves Duke Ellington and joins Benny Goodman's band. Duke Ellington replaces him with Ray Nance who plays trumpet, violin and sings.
Coleman Hawkins faces the challenge of Bop and encourages the young players.
Lester Young records with the Benny Goodman Sextet. These recordings for some reason are not released until the 1970's. The band includes Goodman on clarinet, Artie Bernstein on bass, Charlie Christian on electric guitar, Lester on tenor sax, Buck Clayton on trumpet , Jo Jones on drums and Count Basie on piano -- that's seven? Young is the dominant force and stands out on I Never Knew.
Trumpeter Roy Eldridge can now be heard at his best on I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me with Coleman Hawkins on tenor, Benny Carter on alto and Sid Catlett on drums.
Trumpeter Bunny Berigan returns to the Dorsey Band after his own attempts at leading fail. He will later attempt to lead another band and then die of pneumonia is 1942.
The Yerba-Beuna Jazz Band featuring Lu Watters begins to play at the Dawn Club in San Francisco. It played the music of Oliver and Armstrong.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe is the leading gospel singer and is popular in Jazz as well.
Swedish trumpeter Gosta Turner is playing Dixieland.
Herbie Hancock is born in Chicago on April 12.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1941
Bop begins in New York City. At first, Bop is only a few new ideas.
The Minton guys (see 1940) hear of an obscure alto sax player named Charlie Parker who is now playing at Clark Monroe's Uptown House. They go to hear Charlie. He's doing similar things to the things that they are doing but he's way ahead. Kenny Clarke and Thelonious Monk arrange for Parker to sit in at Minton's. The stage is set.
Charlie Parker is still with Jay McShann. Charlie makes his first recordings for Decca. His style is by now discernable. His playing is confident and strong. Charlie meets Dizzy Gillespie when Diz sits in with McShann at the Savoy Ballroom. The Boppers hit 52nd Street. Parker begins to sit in at Minton's (the breeding ground of Bop).
Dizzy Gillespie is well schooled in music. This is particularly important in building a theory to support Bop. In May, Dizzy is playing primarily in the Roy Eldridge mold, but he is slipping into the Bop-like stuff that he'd been fooling around with for two years.
Bud Powell meets the creators of Bop at Minton's (an event later immortalized in the Monk song In Walked Bud). He will become Bop's premiere pianist.
Others at Minton's include Monk on piano, Kenny Clarke on drums and Dizzy on trumpet. Monk will become a high priest of Bop. Parker and Dizzy are given credit for founding it. Clarke developed the rhythm on which it sits.
The guys at Minton's after hours sessions were playing something close to Bop at this time, but no one could imitate it because it hadn't been recorded yet. The recording ban (starting in 1942) will make the development of the new Bop something of a romantic mystery even to this day.
A quote from Tony Scott: "When Bird and Diz hit the street [52nd Street] regularly, everybody was astounded and nobody could get near their way of playing music. Finally, Bird and Diz made records, and then the guys could imitate it and go from there."
Art Blakey stated years later that Monk was the guy who started it all, not Parker or Gillespie. On a few recordings made by Jerry Newman at Minton's, Monk seems to be Tatum influenced at this point. His style will become much sparer.
Kenny Clarke's new Bebop style of drumming (see 1937) is finally documented on a May recording at Minton's.
Bop players are substituting different but related chords for normal, mainstream "Swing" chords. Rhythm changes in Bop are bigger than the harmonic changes however. They are using faster tempos for fast songs and slower tempos for slow songs. The beats are divided more evenly for fast songs and fast tempos than Swing.
Bop players are deliberately playing "off-beat".
Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson joins the Cootie Williams orchestra.
Roy Eldridge becomes the first black performer to be accepted as a permanent member of a white big band when he joins drummer Gene Krupa's big band.
John Coltrane's mother moves to Philadelphia.
Coltrane receives a clarinet as a gift and he joins community and school bands in High Point, North Carolina. Later in high school, after hearing Johnny Hodges, Coltrane decides to play the alto saxophone. Lester Young is among his favorite musicians.
The Ellington Band continues on what critics say is its best period. Duke records such favorites as I Got it Bad and That Ain't Good, Take the A-Train, The Brown Skin Gal, Chelsea Bridge, etc. See Bluebird CD Duke Ellington - The Blanton-Webster Years.
Duke records as a soloist for the first time.
Vibes man Lionel Hampton leaves Benny Goodman to form his own big band.
Cab Calloway is hit by a spitball during a concert in Hartford, Connecticut. Although trumpeter Jonah Jones probably threw it, Calloway blamed Dizzy Gillespie. A fight ensued and Calloway was nicked by a knife. Dizzy was fired.
Check out Joe Thomas's trumpet masterpiece Stompin' at the Savoy with Art Tatum, Joe Turner and Edmond Hall.
Future piano innovator Bill Evans is asked to sit in for a missing pianist in his brother's Jazz group.
Stan Kenton forms his first band.
Gil Evans joins the Claude Thornhill band. The band moves in the direction of Bop.
Bassist and future composer Charlie Mingus gets a job with Louis Armstrong's big band.
Billie Holiday begins an affair with drug addict Jimmy Monroe and becomes addicted to drugs herself.
Charlie Christian collapses from tuberculosis, which he had for a few years. He is sent to Seaview Sanitarium on Staten Island.
Swing is both peaking and on its way out. It will become defunct because the younger musicians will be drawn to Bop. But, currently, bands such as Benny Goodman Band, Glenn Miller Band, Tommy Dorsey Band, etc. are as highly regarded as the Beatles will become in the 60's.
Mel Powell, a Hines-like piano player, joins the thriving Goodman Band.
Tenor saxophone player Chu Berry is killed in a automobile accident.
Jelly Roll Morton dies on July 10 in Los Angeles.
Dixieland trumpeter Wild Bill Davison moves to New York where he becomes a regular at Nick's and Condon's.
Otis Redding is born in Georgia.
Saxophonist Lester Young turns Jack Kerouac, the founding father of the "beat generation", on to his first marijuana cigarette.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1942
The recording ban limits recording of the fledgling Bop movement. The result is that Bop origins remain mysterious to this day. The ban had resulted from a strike by the Federation of American Musicians which began in August.
It is becoming very clear to musicians that Bop is indeed a new music. A number of Jazz musicians are now playing Bop.
Armstrong marries a Cotton Club dancer named Lucille Wilson. They will remain married until Louie's death.
Charlie Parker is now jamming regularly at Minton's and playing the Savoy Ballroom with the Jay McShann band. An example of Parker's work at this time is Sepian Blues recorded with McShann. It is Blues inflected Swing. Parker was a Blues player.
An amateur recording of Parker playing Cherokee at Minton's is made by Jerry Newman. This is music in transition.
Parker quits McShann in July and joins Noble Sissle's Band where he plays clarinet and alto sax.
Parker is acquiring a very bad drug habit and bad personal habits in general.
The Earl Hines big band seems to be a breeding ground for Bop. Many of the Bop players are currently with Hines. The list includes Parker, Gillespie, trombonist Benny Green, drummer Shadow Wilson and others. The band's vocalist is Billy Eckstine. Both Hines and Eckstine are from Pittsburgh, Pa.
Ellington wins Downbeat Poll. Some records from this year are C-Jam Blues, Moon Mist, Sentimental Lady and Perdido. See the Blanton-Webster collection which was mentioned earlier.
Lionel Hampton has a huge hit with Illinois Jacquet's sax playing on Flying Home.
Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie are both playing in Lucky Millinder's band.
Dizzy Gillespie writes two of his all-time classic compositions, A Night in Tunisia and Salt Peanuts.
Charlie Christian dies from tuberculosis in February. He had been improving but his friends began to bring liquor and women into the sanitarium . It proved to be too much. He was only 22.
Bandleader Woody Herman commissions trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie to write some compositions which lead to a newer, more progressive sound for his band.
Trumpet player Miles Davis (sixteen years old) is playing with a local East Saint Louis band called the Blue Devils (not the Walter Page group).
New Orleans legend Bunk Johnson is fitted with dentures and begins to play trumpet again.
Future Free Jazz pianist, Cecil Taylor (only 9) is already interested in Jazz, especially Swing.
Belgian Robert Goffin and Englishman Leonard Feather act on Goffin's idea to have a formal class on Jazz history and analysis. The class consists of fifteen lectures by Feather and Goffin which are augmented by recordings and musical demonstrations by such artists as Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. The class which attracted almost one hundred serious Jazz students was given at the New School for Social Research in New York. It was repeated later in the year.
Bunny Berigan dies of alcoholism related pneumonia. Berigan was a fine trumpeter, second only to Armstrong in the warmth and sincerity of his tone.
Pittsburgh pianist Erroll Garner comes to New York and finds steady work on 52nd Street.
One of the first European Trad bands is founded by French student Claude Abadie.
Aretha Franklin is born in Memphis.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1943
Capital and Decca sign with the musician's union.
Bop is becoming well known among young Jazz players.
Charlie Parker is now in the Earl Hines band playing tenor sax. Dizzy is playing trumpet for the Hines band at the same time.
John Coltrane graduates high school and moves to Philadelphia. In the fall, Coltrane attends the Ornstein School of Music to study alto sax.
Charlie Parker marries Geraldine Scott.
Ellington initiates a series of annual concerts at Carnegie Hall with Black, Brown and Beige, an extended concert of nearly 50 minutes.
Ben Webster leaves Ellington to work on 52nd Street in NYC. Ben hears an obscure alto sax player named Charlie Parker and is duly impressed.
In December, Lester Young records a number of very influential sides for Keynote as the Lester Young Quartet. Young is showing signs of change in his playing. His tone is getting thicker and his lines are not nearly as sculptured. Afternoon of a Basie-ite is particularly good.
Gillespie leaves Hines and joins Ellington briefly. Later, Diz takes a group consisting of Gillespie on trumpet, Oscar Pettiford on bass, George Wallington on piano, Max Roach on drums and Don Byas on tenor into the Onyx on 52nd Street. This is a Bop band. They play the Onyx thru the winter of 1943-44. This is the public's first real exposure to Bop.
Bop pianist Bud Powell gets first major job with ex-Ellington trumpeter Cootie Williams. Records made by this band shows Bop style very clearly.
Bop trumpeter Fats Navarro is currently playing with Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy.
Art Tatum forms a trio with Slam Stewart on bass and Tiny Grimes or Everett Barksdale on guitar. Audiences are attracted.
Fats Waller dies on a train while returning from a tour.
Mingus leaves Armstrong to work in Kid Ory's revival band.
Pianist Lenny Tristano is currently teaching at the Christiansen School of Popular Music and playing piano and reeds professionally in Chicago.
Stan Kenton has a hit with Artistry in Rhythm which is based on Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe. A trend to more complex arrangements begins.
Robert Goffin convinces Esquire editor Arnold Gingrich that a "real" Jazz poll, one in which Coleman Hawkins could win for tenor sax instead of Tex Beneke, is needed. Thus is born the Esquire Jazz Band Poll. At Esquire publisher David Smart's suggestion, a concert performed by the winners will be given at the Metropolitan Opera House on January 18, 1944.
Louis Armstrong wins the first Esquire Jazz Band Poll for trumpet. Other winners include Coleman Hawkins for tenor sax and Billie Holiday for vocals.
Pianist Andrew Hill, at age 6, is currently singing and playing accordian in talent shows around chicago.
Jamaican born pianist Wynton Kelly makes his professional debut at around twelve years of age.
Pianist Graeme Bell starts a Trad band in Australia.
Red Norvo switches to vibraphone.
Bluesman John Lee Hooker arrives in Detroit.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1944
Columbia and Victor finally sign with the musician's union and the strike ends at the end of 1944.
Bop is a recognized, controversial movement.
In spring, vocalist Billy Eckstine leaves Earl Hines to form a Bop oriented big band. Dizzy Gillespie is chosen to be in charge of music. Gillespie brings in Charlie Parker.
Charlie Parker is with Billy Eckstine's band. Eckstine had the first big band to feature the Bop artists. Parker is now in full command of his music. He does his first small combo recording with Tiny Grimes.
Parker leaves Eckstine late in the year to front a rhythm section at the Three Deuces.
Dizzy Gillespie is chosen "best new star on trumpet" in Esquire Poll.
The First Bop record is cut by a band fronted by Coleman Hawkins. The band includes Hawkins on tenor sax, Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Max Roach on drums and Leo Parker on alto sax. Sides are Woody 'n' You and Disorder at the Border.
Piano innovator Thelonious Monk cuts his first records. Coleman Hawkins had been using Monk in a small combo on 52nd Street. In October, Hawkins gives Monk a solo on a recording of Flying Hawk. Monk is forever grateful.
Old Swing drummer Dave Tough and buddies from Woody Herman's band drop in on 52nd Street to hear an early Bop-style band featuring Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet and Oscar Pettiford on bass. Dave says that it is scary. Dave will become one of the few to successfully make the transformation from Swing to Bop.
Trumpeter Little Ben Harris from the Earl Hines Band cuts four sides which are definitely Bop with Oscar Pettiford on bass, Denzil Best on drums and Clyde Hart on piano.
Boyd Raeburn forms a big band dedicated to the Bop musical approach.
Innovative Pittsburgh drummer Art Blakey joins the Eckstine band. Eckstine wanted to hire Shadow Wilson but he was drafted. Blakey was exempt from the draft because of a silver plate in his head (put there after a severe beating by police).
Saxophonist Lester Young is inducted into the army in September. A redneck officer sees a picture of Lester's very light skinned wife in his locker and believes that this is a picture of a white woman. As a result, the officer has Lester court-martialed for possession of marijuana. The officer knew about Lester's pot smoking because of a questionnaire that Lester filled out. Lester is sentenced to a year's detention, but gets off because of his health.
The Eckstine band comes to St. Louis. A young trumpeter named Miles Davis makes a pest of himself, pressing Eckstine to let him sit in. Davis later says that Gillespie asked him to sit in. Eckstine says Miles pressed him. At any rate, Eckstine thinks that Miles is terrible and at this point, he probably is.
The winners of Esquire magazine's first Jazz poll perform in the first Jazz concert ever to be given at the Metropolitan Opera House. The concert date is January 18. The concert is recorded but never released in America. A Japanese release becomes available years later.
Armstrong wins Esquire magazine's Gold Award for trumpet and vocal.
Duke Ellington wins the Downbeat poll.
Trumpeter Cat Anderson joins Ellington's band.
Lester Young joins the army. Since 1936, Lester has created one of the most influential bodies of records.
Ben Webster is hired by CBS Radio.
Ornette Coleman's mother gives him an alto sax. He wanted to join the church band.
Detroit pianist Hank Jones makes his recording debut with trumpeter and Blues singer Hot Lips Page.
George Web's Dixielanders (a Trad band) form in England.
Carlo Loffredo forms the Roman New Orleans Jazz Band in Italy.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1945
It still seems clear at this point that Swing will rule, but.
Bop hits with full force. The musicians union strike ended at the end of 1944 and a lot of Bop gets recorded in 1945.
Bop has broken into the open. It seems to have sprung up fully formed. This is not really the case. It just seems that way because of the musician's strike.
Bop players begin to dress like business men instead of popular performers. Cool becomes the word, not hot. Things become hip, not hep. Performers cooly bow at the end of a tune. They don't mug. They become aloof.
The Bop players have changed the music considerably. It is almost as if they have taken the New Orleans and Swing forms apart and reformed them in a manner similar to what Picasso did when he arrived at the idea of Cubism.
The clarinet has nearly disappeared from Jazz at this point courtesy of the saxophone. By now, the sax is king even forcing trumpeters to take notice.
Jazz is becoming the preferred music of white renegades (will be until the mid 60's).
Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie become known as partners and the co-founders of Bebop. Diz and Bird and Bird and Miles Davis record a number of tunes in Feb, May and Nov which establish Bebop. These tunes which are the most influential sides since the Hot Fives and Sevens include Groovin' High, Salt Peanuts, Hot House, Koko, Billie's Bounce and Now's the Time. These and other tunes which mark the beginning of recorded Bebop can be found on several Savoy Jazz CD's including The Charlie Parker Story and The Genius of Charlie Parker as well the Stash CD The Legendary Dial Sessions: Vol 1.
Diz and Bird go to California to work in a small combo at a club called Billy Berg's. They had been booked by Parker's manager Billy Shaw. Parker is now getting very heavily into drugs. Parker takes up with a hat check girl named Doris Sydnor while he is still married.
Miles Davis graduates high school and moves to New York to become a musician. He enrolls in Julliard at his parents request.
John Coltrane is drafted and plays clarinet with the Navy Band in Hawaii.
Monk is too individualistic of a piano player to be pinned to one school. He is not really a Swing or a Bop player but he has elements of all styles. Monk is, ironically, not the Bopper's piano player of choice. His phrasing is unique and is considered to be perverse by many.
The Bop piano players of choice are Bud Powell, Al Haig and George Wallington.
Bud Powell has a mental breakdown at age 21 and is sent to Pilgrim State Hospital on Long Island. He'll be in and out of institutions for the next four years.
Fats Navarro replaces Dizzy Gillespie in the Eckstine Band.
Clifford Brown's father gives him a trumpet.
Saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis is leading the house band at Minton's Playhouse (until 1952).
Pianist Wild Bill Davis is currently working for Louis Jordan.
Soprano saxophone virtuoso Sidney Bechet continues to record. Check out The Sidney Bechet Sessions on Storyville CD.
Armstrong wins Esquire Gold award for vocal but Swing is going out of style with the musicians.
The Woody Herman big band is incorporating Bop in tunes such as Caldonia and Apple Honey.
Duke Ellington wins the Esquire Gold award for arranger and bandleader as well as the Metronome poll. Oscar Pettiford joins Duke on bass.
Roy Eldridge is in his mid-thirties, at the height of his magnificent trumpet playing powers, and he is becoming passe'. Musicians such as Roy are unfortunately being pushed out by the Boppers and their music.
Art Tatum is thrown into obscurity by the emergence of Bop (a music that he probably influenced substantially).
Lenny Tristano is currently one of the most thoroughly schooled musicians in Jazz.
Benny Carter moves to Hollywood and begins to write movie and TV scores.
The teenaged Art Farmer and his twin brother Addison spend their summer in Los Angeles just as Bop is breaking out.
The term "Moldy Fig" (sometimes "Mouldy Figge") appears for the first time in reference to the old school Jazz players in the Esquire letters column in a letter from a Navy man named Sam Platt.
Eddie Condon opens his Dixieland oriented Jazz club called Eddie Condon's in the Greenwich Village section of New York City.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1946
Charlie Parker breaks down completely on July 29 after a recording session. He is admitted to Camarillo State Hospital. He will later write Relaxin' at Camarillo.
Parker does his first Dial recordings. These are some of the landmark recordings of Jazz. They are available on the Stash CD series The Legendary Dial Masters - Vol 1 and Vol 2.
During 1946 Parker will also start with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. His sidemen include Miles Davis on trumpet, Red Rodney on trumpet, Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Duke Jordan on piano, Al Haig on piano, Tommy Potter on bass, Max Roach on drums, Roy Haynes on drums, Lester Young on tenor sax and Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax.
Dizzy Gillespie forms a big band, against all odds, at a time when most big bands are going broke.
Bud Powell is recognized as Bop's premiere pianist.
Thelonious Monk is now playing in Dizzy Gillespie's big band. Later this year, Monk signs a contract as a leader with Blue Note. Monk will work as a small band leader from now until 1959.
Saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis forms the group Eddie Davis and His Beboppers.
Armstrong wins the Esquire Gold award for Vocalist.
Armstrong stops recording for Decca and begins his second go-around with Victor.
The first vinyl record is produced.
After his discharge from the Navy, Coltrane returns to Philadelphia and works in rhythm and blues bands led by King Kolax, Big Maybelle, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. Vinson insists that Coltrane switch to tenor sax to give him more room on the alto. At first Coltrane is reluctant, but the new instrument grows on him. His early models on the tenor saxophone include Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins. Coltrane will continue to work with Vinson on and off for the next two years.
Charles Mingus is now with Lionel Hampton's band.
The Ellington biography Duke Ellington is written by Barry Ulanov. Ellington wins Esquire Gold award and the Downbeat poll. Russell Procope joins Duke on clarinet and alto sax.
In December, eight of the biggest Swing bands break up. The list includes Benny Goodman, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter and 3 more. The Swing era is truly over. Big band Jazz will not die out entirely though.
Django Reinhardt sleeps through a Carnegie Hall concert with Duke Ellington.
Lenny Tristano (Mr. Cool on the piano) arrives in NYC and takes Jazz into more coolness and complexity. His primary source of income is teaching. He quickly develops a reputation as a crazy genius among musicians. He has a lot of new musical ideas. He is consciously trying to weld Jazz and Classical.
The seeds of Cool are being planted by Kenton and Herman.
Stan Kenton has the leading Swing band. Woody Herman's is a close second. These bands are both embracing the Cool.
Woody Herman presents Igor Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto at Carnegie Hall.
A very cool and Canadian Gil Evans arrives on 52nd street.
Claude Thornhill reforms his band. His principal arranger is the "soon to be Cool" Gil Evans.
Nat "King" Cole records the classic Christmas song The Christmas Song. This will later be covered by Johnny Mathis. A lot of people don't even know that Nat recorded this first.
Ray Charles begins his professional carreer.
English piano player George Shearing visits the U.S.
Future Fusion drummer Tony Williams is born in Chicago. Tony will be raised in Boston.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1947
Bop is beginning to dominate American Jazz.
With Bebop well established at this point, it is clear that the mainstream of Jazz is from New Orleans through Swing to Bebop. Bop currently rules.
Early in 1947, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and others record some landmark sides for Dial in California (Ornithology, Loverman, Bebop, etc.) and in New York (Scrapple from the Apple, Dexterity, etc.). These cuts can be found on the Stash CD's which cover the Dial sessions.
Parker forms the Charlie Parker Quintet with Max Roach on drums, Miles Davis on trumpet, Tommy Potter on bass and Duke Jordan on piano. Sides are cut for Dial and Savoy. Ross Russell of Dial thinks these are Parker's best.
In March, Dean Benedetti begins following Parker and recording him (until 1948). The complete recordings can be found on the Mosaic CD The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings. More noteworthy CD's covering this era are Savoy CD's The Charlie Parker Memorial: Vol 1 and The Genius of Charlie Parker as well as the Stash CD's The Legendary Dial Masters: Vol 1 and Vol 2.
Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie records Manteca with percussionist Chano Pozo. The Cuban influence adds rhythmic complexity to Gillespie's big band sound.
Dizzy and George Russell's Cubana Be, Cubana Bop contains Modal Jazz elements way before its time.
Bassist Al McKibbon joins Dizzy's band.
Bud Powell records under his own name and with Charlie Parker.
Monk makes a series of recordings (first time as a leader) for Alfred Lion at Blue Note. These recordings begin to establish his reputation as a genius. See the Blue Note CD's Genius of Modern Music: Vol 1 and Vol 2. Some notable titles include Ruby, My Dear; Straight, No Chaser; Round Midnight; etc. The work is still not pouring in, however.
Drummer Art Blakey becomes interested in his African heritage. He travels to west Africa to learn to play like an African drummer. He remained in Africa for two years.
Trumpeter Fats Navarro is at his peak. He will not live long due to drug addiction.
Miles Davis becomes Charlie Parker's trumpet player at the age of 21.
Coltrane is becoming increasingly impressed by Dexter Gordon's work on the tenor saxophone.
Charlie Mingus sells his first arrangements Mingus Fingers to Lionel Hampton.
Saxophonist Lee Konitz (a Lenny Tristano disciple) is now playing in the band of Claude Thornhill.
Sonny Rollins graduates from High School.
The big band of Earl Hines disbands. This ends a period of nearly twenty years in which Earl had a good big band.
The saxophone duels of Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray are put on record in June of this year.
Woody Herman's saxophone playing "Four Brothers" become the center of Herman's band. Stan Getz is the best known "Brother".
Louie Armstrong and Billie Holiday appear in the movie New Orleans. Louie plays himself and Billie plays a maid.
Armstrong wins the Esquire Gold award for trumpet and vocal.
Armstrong quits recording for Victor and returns to Decca.
Ellington wins Esquire Gold award.
Eddie Condon replaces Swing oriented Dixielanders with "more authentic" players. Dave Tough and Max Kaminsky are out, George Brunis and Bill Davison are in.
Mahalia Jackson (whose mentor is Thomas E. Dorsey -- aka Georgia Tom -- the father of Gospel) cuts Move on up a Little Higher which sells more than 2,000,000 copies.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe will sing only Gospel from now on.
George Shearing becomes a permanent U.S. resident and works extensively on 52nd street.
The University of North Texas in Denton, Texas offers a Jazz degree. This is the first Jazz degree to be offered in the United States.
Monthly magazine Swing Journal is founded in Japan.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1948
Birdland (named after Charlie Parker) opens in New York City.
Notable 1947 Savoy recordings by Charlie Parker can be found on The Charlie Parker Memorial - Vol 2, The Genius of Charlie Parker and Bird at the Roost - Vol 1.
Max Roach and Miles Davis get fed up with Charlie Parker and quit.
Charlie Parker begins recording for Clef/Verve. This will continue until his death in 1955.
Dizzy Gillespie brings his big Bop band to Europe. The impact is great.
The LP is introduced by Columbia. This is significant because it will make it possible to make longer, more spontaneous recordings.
Swing has been all but pushed out by Bop in the U.S. and by Trad in Europe.
Most young players in the U.S. are in the Bop camp.
Clifford Brown is playing in Philadelphia with the likes of Kenny Dorham, Max Roach, J.J. Johnson and Fats Navarro who offered much encouragement.
Humphrey Lyttleton forms his own Trad band in England.
Elements of the coming Cool style are popping up in Woody Herman's recording of Early Autumn.
Stan Kenton borrows Machito's Cuban drummer for a memorable recording of The Peanut Vendor. It is a big hit for Stan.
Kenton and Herman are very influential.
Gil Evans, John Lewis, Gerry Mulligan and John Carisi begin informal meetings to exchange ideas. Miles Davis will be brought in as trumpeter. See the Birth of the Cool CD.
The Miles Davis nonet performs at the Royal Roost on Broadway.
Ornette Coleman graduates high school and goes on the road with a traveling variety show. Ornette gets fired in Natchez for trying to interest other players in Jazz.
Bassist Charles Mingus quits the Lionel Hampton band.
Pianist Hank Jones becomes Ella Fitzgerald's accompanist.
Armstrong forms the first version of the Jazz All Stars with Jack Teagarden on trombone, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Dick Carey on piano, Sid Catlett on drums and Arvell Shaw on bass. Their music fits in with New Orleans revival.
Louis Armstrong performs at the Jazz festival in Nice, France.
Duke Ellington tours England and France. Although his band is on the decline, he wins the Downbeat poll again.
Ben Webster rejoins the Ellington band.
At the age of 3, Keith Jarrett begins to play the piano.
Ray Charles integrates a Country and Western band called the Florida Playboys.
Mitch Miller overdubs Patti Page singing her own harmony on Money, Marbles and Chalk. This might be the first use of this technique.
John Lee Hooker records "Boogie Chillen." This will become his first big hit.
Fans of Classical and Jazz music Dr Peter Goldmark and William Bachman invent microgroove or 'high fidelity' playback, thus the 33 1/3 RPM disc is introduced.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1949
The battle lines form. In the U.S. Bop, Swing, Trad, Cool and Dixieland are being played. Bop is king here.
In Europe, two schools emerge. They are Bop and Trad with the decided advantage going to Trad.
Cool Jazz begins in a series of recordings made by Miles Davis, et al. Many people attach more importance to the "et al" than to Davis. Nevertheless, a nucleus of people from the Claude Thornhill band including Lee Konitz, Bill Barber, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Shulman and Gil Evans apparently arrived at the ideas which led to Cool and then called Davis in as a trumpeter and maybe more importantly, a known name. Songs include Denzil Best's Move, Mulligan's Jeru and Rocker as well as Israel and Boplicity. See the Capitol Jazz CD Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool.
Latin influences become more important in Jazz.
Jerry Wexler, future partner of Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records, persuades his current employer, Billboard, to change the term "Race Records" to "Rhythm and Blues." The term has been replaced occasionally by terms such as "Soul Music", but is currently in vogue again.
The 45 RPM record is introduced by Victor. The first vinyl LP is made.
Charlie Parker takes his first trip overseas. He takes part in the Paris Jazz festival. The new Parker quintet features Parker on alto sax, Al Haig on piano and Red Rodney on trumpet. Listen to the CD's Bird at the Roost - Vol 2 and Vol 4 on Savoy/Vogue.
John Coltrane first appears on record as a member of Dizzy Gillespie's big band, playing alto saxophone. He will stay with Gillespie until 1951, later doubling on tenor sax. During his tenure with Gillespie, Coltrane plays on George Russell's "Cubana-Be, Cubana-Bop," one of the first modal recordings and also a landmark Latin jazz composition.
Ben Webster leaves Ellington again. He moves back to Kansas City to work in the Jay McShann band. In addition, he begins work at this time in pioneering Rhythm and Blues bands playing a new music which might easily be called Rock and Roll. He will eventually work with Johnny Otis and others. An interesting thing appears to be happening, it seems as if many Swing musicians displaced by Bop are working in small bands pioneering Rock and Roll which will eventually totally eclipse Jazz. Talk about irony. See the EmArcy CD The Complete Ben Webster on EmArcy for some examples.
Bud Powell makes recording of Cherokee for Verve which clearly shows the Charlie Parker influences in his playing. Powell has seemingly recovered from his latest bout with depression. He is playing regularly and well, but he is also drinking a lot. During the next two years, he will cut his most important records for Blue Note. These Blue Note recordings will be recognized as masterpieces.
J. J. Johnson is now the premiere trombone player in Jazz.
Bill Evans is attending college at Southeastern Louisiana College. The college is about 100 miles north of New Orleans. Bill is playing piano regularly in a rural juke joint.
Art Blakey returns from Africa. His name is now Abdullah Ibn Buhaina and his work becomes some of the most imaginative in Jazz.
Lenny Tristano group records some unique sides that are closely listened to by Jazz musicians...even musicians that don't like the music. The tunes are Intuition and Digression. The players are Lee Konitz on alto sax, Warne Marsh on tenor sax, Billy Bauer on guitar, a drummer and a bassist. The drummer and bassist are not given much latitude. Tristano is interested in complicated systems of chord changes and he wants to create pure melodic lines with shifting meters or without meter. This music is close to Free Jazz and is 5 to 10 years early.
At the end of the Tristano session above, in May 1949, Tristano tells engineers to leave the mike open. Each instrumentalist plays in a melodic system of his own choice. The Tristano group is playing Free Jazz about ten years before its time and musicians and record company execs are puzzled. The record is not issued for quite some time.
Ornette Coleman gets a job with the Clarence Samuels Rhythm and Blues group. The band goes on tour and Ornette is beaten up in Baton Rouge, La. His sax is destroyed. The reason for the beating is either because the locals think that his music is bizarre or because they are tired of musicians stealing their girls. Time Line Commentary:
Trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez born in New York, NY.
Coleman Hawkins is now out of the vanguard of Jazz. Hawkins was another displaced Swing idol. He was as capable as anyone of understanding Bop harmonics. Since he had been improvising on the chord structure longer than anyone at this point. However, like many Swing musicians, the Bop rhythms completely escaped him.
Roy Eldridge is another displaced Swing giant.
Django Reinhardt, another Swing giant, is bruised and battered. He also finds himself irrelevant due to Bop.
The list goes on and on.
New Orleans trumpeter Bunk Johnson dies. Clarinetist George Lewis emerges as a leader and tours Europe giving more impetus to the Trad movement. Two other important clarinet players come to Europe. They are Sidney Bechet and Mezz Mezzrow.
Charles Delaunay and Hughes Panassie split. Delaunay takes the Bop side and the magazine. Panassie takes the New Orleans side and the Hot Club.
Armstrong goes on European tour.
Cuban bandleader Luis del Campo becomes enamored with Jazz and begins to hire Jazzmen. This is a switch. Usually, it was the Jazz bands which hired cuban musicians. The del Campo band had five rhythm men including three drummers, a piano and a bass.
In February, Machito's drummers sit in with Will Bradley's Dixieland Jazzband and the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald. The result was astonishing and airshots of this session are collector's items.
Norman Granz persuades Oscar Peterson to join the Jazz at the Philharmonic(JATP). The popular style pianist is an instant success.
Albert Ammons dies.
Blues man John Lee Hooker has his first million seller with Boogie Chillun.
Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee by Stick McGhee becomes the first hit on the relatively new Atlantic Records.
Not to be out done, RCA responded with the 45 RPM disc, thus began the battle of the 'speeds' and the death of the 78 RPM.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1950
Bop is in command, Dixieland revival is in full bloom, Cool is up and coming and the Swing players are bewildered.
Trad is as big in Europe as Bop is in the U.S.
Drugs run rampant in Bop.
The West Coast School (also called Cool and sometimes called Bopsieland) produces some big hits such as the Chet Baker/Gerry Mulligan rendition of My Funny Valentine.
Colleges and Universities across the U.S. have Dixieland bands. The craze is big now.
Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm group records a big hit called Rocket 88 which many believe is the first true Rock and Roll record. Rocket 88 was written and sung by Jackie Brenston.
By this time, it is possible for a Jazz star to get rich without compromising. A competent Jazz musician can make a good living without compromise. Audiences are finally somewhat indifferent to a mixed black and white band.
Barney Josephson (Owner of Cafe' Society) is forced out of business by the right-wing politics of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Charlie Parker becomes the first modern Jazz soloist to perform with strings and woodwinds in a symphony style group.
Parker is well represented on the album Bird at the Roost - Vol 3. Fats Navarro is present on this one.
While still married, Parker hooks up with a woman named Chan Richardson.
Dizzy Gillespie is at his peak.
Dizzy Gillespie reduces his working big band to a sextet. Coltrane stays on with the group, playing both alto and tenor saxophone.
Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins records with Fats Navarro and Bud Powell.
Fats Navarro dies of drug-connected tuberculosis. He is only twenty-six.
Bud Powell records some memorable Tatum specialties like Tea for Two, Yesterdays and April in Paris.
Clifford Brown is almost killed in an automobile accident. Dizzy visits him in the hospital during his year long recovery and urges Clifford to move forward with his career as a trumpeter.
Billie Holiday breaks off with John Levy, the third drug addict she has dated. The first was Jimmy Monroe, then Joe Guy and now John Levy. Levy proved to be perhaps the worst. Once, he framed her to save himself from a drug bust, but she returned for more abuse anyway. At this point, she has little to show for all her work. Her voice is going and so is her health.
Art Tatum is back as a major Jazz figure.
Pianist John Lewis is a thoroughly schooled musician after the army and the Manhattan School of Music. He is very prominent in the Cool movement.
Stan Getz hires Horace Silver to play piano in his quartet.
After the incident in New Orleans, Ornette Coleman joins the Pee Wee Crayton band. Pee Wee who is from Fort Worth takes the band, including Ornette Coleman, to L.A. When they get there, he fires Ornette. Ornette stays there.
Pianist Cecil Taylor is gigging around New York City.
Pianist Andrew Hill (age 6) learns his first blues changes for piano from Pat Patrick.
Ellington band tours Europe. Paul Gonsalves joins the Duke on tenor sax.
The Del Campo band is playing Jazz numbers with a rolling rhumba rhythm that attracts large dance audiences. Del Campo is inclined to turn the band loose and then dance with the ladies. He very dramatically dies on the dance floor while doing this very thing. The cause is a bad heart.
New Orleans clarinetist Edmond Hall is currently playing Dixieland (not his favorite) at Eddie Condon's.
George Shearing develops commercial success but becomes very commercial in the process.
Singer Bobby McFerrin is born.
Crazy Leo Watson dies in Los Angeles on May 2.
Future mega Pop star Stevie Wonder is born as Stevie Morris in Detroit.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1951
45 rpm records are introduced to the public.
Jazz is starting to be considered legitimate by colleges and universities.
The first American Jazz festival occurs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. in the autumn. This festival precedes the first Newport Jazz Festival by almost three years.
Armstrong wins Record Changer All Time All Star Poll 1951.
John Coltrane moves back to Philadelphia and enters the Granoff School of Music to study the saxophone and music theory with Dennis Sandole.
By this time, John Coltrane is familiar with Nicholas Slominsky's "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns".
Coltrane's heroin use becomes a serious addiction. Gillespie fires him because of drug-related problems.
Clifford Brown, the brilliant young trumpeter from Wilmington, Del., returns to music after a year recovering from an auto accident. Clifford gets much encouragement from Dizzy. Clifford has a good reputation among older Bopsters.
Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins joins the Miles Davis group. Rollins is a Coleman Hawkins influenced player. Because of this he is running counter to the current tide of Lester Young addicts. How ironic that ten years ago, Hawkins was the popular one.
Pianist Cecil Taylor begins to study music at the New England Conservatory. He had previously attended the New York college of Music. Cecil begins to mingle with young Boston musicians such as Jackie Byard(p), Gigi Gryce(as), Charlie Mariano(s), Serge Chaloff(s), Joe Gordon(t). Cecil has interest in Bop, especially Bud Powell and Horace Silver.
Ornette Coleman is working as a day laborer in L.A. He gets gigs when he can, but they are few. People think that he doesn't know how to play. He'll spend nine tough years this way.
Musicians such as trumpeter Chet Baker and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan form the "Cool School" in California, of course.
Sidney Bechet moves to Paris. Sidney becomes one of the first black American musicians to do this. Many more (Bud Powell, etc.) will follow due to less racial tension.
Thelonious Monk records the classic of modern music Straight, No Chaser.
Thelonious Monk is sentenced for drugs and is banned from playing the NYC clubs for six years. Narcotics which were probably not his were found in Monk's car. Monk will not inform. Although he could not play in clubs, he could record.
Miles Davis is currently recording little because of heroin addiction. However, his interests are beginning to shift from the Cool to the harbingers of Hard Bop.
Saxophone player Jackie McLean debuts on records with Miles Davis.
Soul sax player Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis is currently recording with Bennie Green and Art Blakey.
Bud Powell is back in a mental institution.
Charlie Parker is still hopelessly addicted to drugs.
Roy Eldridge makes the claim that he can tell the difference between a black player and a white player merely by listening. Leonard Feather gives Roy a blindfold test. Roy fails.
Django Reinhardt makes a comeback at the Club St. Germain in Paris.
Louis Bellson joins Duke Ellington on the drums.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe marries for the third time. The wedding draws 25000 paying guests.
Boogie Woogie piano player Jimmy Yancey dies in Chicago on September 17.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1952
Not as much is happening in Jazz. Bop is getting old.
Classically trained pianist John Lewis forms the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke. Lewis insists that group members wear tuxedos to dignify Jazz.
Thelonious Monk begins to make records for Prestige.
Coltrane joins alto saxophonist Earl Bostic's R&B group.
Cecil Taylor is drawn to Brubeck and Stravinsky. Free ideas are brewing.
Lee Konitz is with Stan Kenton.
Bop trombone player J. J. Johnson is working as a blueprint inspector (until 1954).
Young Nebraskan trumpet player Chet Baker plays with Charlie Parker before joining Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartet.
Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker form the pianoless quartet.
Django Reinhardt's health is failing. He's getting stiffness in his fingers.
Armstrong takes yet another European tour.
Disc jockey Alan Freed produces what could be called the first Rock and Roll concert.
Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records buys Ray Charles' contract for a mere $2500.
Les Paul introduces his new invention, the solid body guitar, when Gibson begins marketing the classic guitar which bears Les' name.
Les Paul uses a custom-made Ampex tape recorder and begins experimenting with over-dubbing and other innovative recording techniques.
History Of Jazz Timeline: 1953
Horace Silver records Opus de Funk. His left hand is playing like Bud Powell, but his right hand is playing Boogie Woogie. Hard Bop, here we come. Hard Bop will be big.
George Russell has worked out his Lydian Concept of Tonal Organization, a landmark treatise on modal theory. Modal jazz will become a major movement over the course of the next decade.
Mingus puts together a classic concert at Massey Hall with Charlie Parker on alto sax, Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet, Max Roach on drums, Bud Powell on piano and himself on bass. Maybe the first superstar group.
Parker, Gillespie, Max Roach, Charlie Mingus and Bud Powell are recorded in concert at Massey Hall in Toronto. A good LP results. Listen to The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall on Original Jazz Classics(OJC). Also check out Charlie Parker at Storyville on Blue Note.
Mingus begins working with the Composer's Workshop (vibraphonist Teddy Charles, Teo Macero and John LaPorta). At this time, Mingus begins bringing sketches of his pieces which players must fill in with their own notes.
Coltrane joins the Johnny Hodges band. Hodges was Coltrane's original inspiration for switching to the saxophone.
Bud Powell's emotional problems are now eating away his skills.
Clifford Brown tours Europe (particularly France) in the fall with Lionel Hampton. He produces some excellent music with the locals as well as the American musicians. See Big Band in Paris, Sextet in Paris and Quartet in Paris on OJC.
Wild Bill Davis switches from the piano to the organ. This will later inspire Jimmy Smith to do likewise.
Tadd Dameron tells his band that his primary objective when he writes is to produce beautiful music.
Armstrong wins Downbeat International Critic's poll, Downbeat Hall of Fame award, Melody Maker's Reader's poll, Melody Maker's Critic's poll, Jazz Hot poll in France and Jazz Echo poll in Germany.
Soprano sax virtuoso Sydney Bechet (Kenny G. ought to give him a listen) is still rollin' along. Check out Sydney Bechet at Storyville on Black Lion.
Art Tatum begins to record piano solos for Norman Granz on the Verve label. He will record over 100 on 11 LP's in all between now and 1955.
Baritone sax great, Gerry Mulligan expands his band to ten people. The band is similar to the "Birth of the Cool" group.
Ellington wins Downbeat Critics poll.
Django Reinhardt dies of a stroke while fishing at his house on the Seine in Samois (40 miles from Paris) on May 15.
Ben Webster moves to L.A. to care for his aging grandmother.
Billy Ward, leader of the Dominoes (Sixty Minute Man), fires Clyde McPhatter for violating one of the Band's petty rules. Bad move, Billy. Clyde will go on to form the first version of the Drifters.
The first biographical dictionary or encyclopedia of Jazz musicians is published in Copenhagen.