Prominent Men of Jazz

As the emergence of Jazz spread, prominent male figures stood out among the rest because of their contributions to the music genre, helping it grow and flourish across the nation, internationally, and throughout generations.

Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton
Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton was born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe on September 20, 1890. He was a Creole and African American ragtime and jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader; and because of this he is considered one of the first jazz musicians and most notable contributor. His arrangements and recordings were influential in jazz's evolution as solo art. Because of him and his work, jazz did not need to be a big band genre, solo acts could now flourish and be just as entertaining as those of big bands.

Joe "King" Oliver
Joe "King" Oliver, born Joseph Nathan Oliver on December 19, 1881, was an American jazz cornetist and bandleader in the 1910s to his death on April 10, 1938. He gained his stage name "King," or "King Oliver" by leading his band as a cornetist in New Orleans. In 1920, he started leading his band and after a quick stop in California, he and his band landed a long-time, multi-year jig in Lincoln Gardens, one of Chicago's most popular dance halls. And his influence to jazz did not stop there; he is recognized for his unique playing style and his use of mutes, pioneering their way into Jazz. And in 1923, he was credited with one of the earliest recordings of New Orleans jazz.

Charles "Buddy" Bolden
Charles Joseph Bolden was born on September 6, 1877 in New Orleans. Buddy, often referred to as "King Bolden," is renowned African American cornetist. He is arguably one of the most influential of newer age jazz, creating the Big Noise and Big Four in the jazz genre. He is also considered the first jazz musician, and well known for his different style of playing: loud, strong, with lots of improvisation. By 1906, Bolden had become the most popular Black musician of New Orleans. He set the stage for others to come up alongside and after him in both traditional/New Orleans jazz and swing jazz.

These men were not the only prominent men of Jazz, but just some that were able to make their mark on the musical genre. Others like them have been recongize and cherished to their contribution to the growth and creation of Jazz and its sub-genres. Both men and women helped put this musical genre on the map to cultivated it to spread throughout both the nation and world.

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