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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Jazz History Time Line - 1938

Armstrong records such popular songs as Hoagy Carmichael's Jubilee, a remake of his own Struttin' with some Barbecue and I Double Dare You. See Classics CD Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra 1938-1939.

Charlie Parker acquires a mentor. He is Henry "Buster" or "Professor" Smith, a Kansas City alto saxophonist and band leader formerly with Basie. Parker joins Smith's band.

Charlie Parker is being heavily influenced by tenor saxophonist Lester Young and piano virtuoso Art Tatum. Charlie goes to Chicago and then New York. He picks up odd jobs to support his playing. One of these jobs is as a dishwasher in a club where Art Tatum is playing. Tatum plays fast with numerous chord changes. This style would be Charlie's also.

Duke Ellington meets Billy Strayhorn. Strayhorn shows him Lush Life. Ellington is duly impressed.

Billie Holiday is currently with the Artie Shaw band. Basie had let her go because of her work habits.

Barney Josephson books Billy to work the Cafe' Society. The Cafe' Society was one of the first clubs to accept black customers.

Lester Young records a number of very influential sides for Commodore with the Kansas City Six. Young plays mostly clarinet here and produces excellent solos on Pagin' the Devil, I Want a Little Girl and Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.

The Basie band is booked at The Famous Door in New York City. This event will finally give the band the publicity that it needs to succeed. John Hammond is instrumental.

Trumpet virtuoso Roy Eldridge begins to work primarily in the small band format. He has developed excellent control of his ideas by now.

Saxophonist Louis Jordan leaves Chick Webb's sax section to form his Tympani Five. This might well mark the beginnings of what we know as Rock and Roll.

The Artie Shaw Band has its first big hit with Begin the Beguine. A lot of Shaw's fans claimed that he should have been the "King of Swing" instead of Goodman because he had numerous big hits and Goodman had only one or two.

Saxophonist Benny Carter returns to the U.S. He organizes a Swing band which will enjoy modest success.

King Oliver dies on April 8.

Sidney Bechet is currently working as a tailor. Check out Sidney Bechet 1932-1943: The Bluebird Sessions on Bluebird CD.

Sidney Bechet records a version of Summertime that many people call the definitive version of Summertime.

John Hammond brings Blues shouter Big Joe Turner to New York City for a Carnegie Hall concert.

Hammond's famous "From Spirituals to Swing" concert occurs at Carnegie Hall.

Benny Goodman does a concert at Carnegie Hall. The famous long version of Sing, Sing, Sing is introduced at this concert.

Boogie Woogie piano players Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis become the main Boogie piano players after their trio performance at the the "From Spirituals to Swing" concert.

Django Reinhardt records Billets Doux, Swing from Paris, Them There Eyes and Three Little Words.

Hugues Panassie' comes to New York City and organizes a recording session with J. P. Johnson on piano, Tommy Ladnier, Teddy Bunn on guitar, Bechet and others.

Jump bands begin to form. These are small, Swing oriented bands featuring off color lyrics and commercial arrangements. Louis Jordan has the most famous Jump band. These bands will evolve into Rock and Roll bands, possibly in response to the later Bop revolution.

Vocalist Slim Gaillard and bassist Slam Stewart (affectionately known as "Slim and Slam") become almost instantly famous with the catchy Flat Foot Floogie.

Robert Johnson makes his landmark recordings for Vocalion. Many believe that these represent the transition from Country Blues to City Blues. Johnson is strictly following the twelve bar Blues form. Johnson is murdered shortly thereafter when he is given poisoned whiskey in a Mississippi bar by the jealous boyfriend of a woman he had been flirting with.

Future piano player Cecil Taylor is taking piano lessons from the wife of a timpani player who played with Toscanini. She lived across the street. Taylor will become big in the Free Jazz movement.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe becomes the first Gospel singer to sing at a night club when she performs at the Cotton Club.

Trumpet virtuoso Lee Morgan is born on July 10 in Philadelphia, Pa.

Marvin Gaye is born.

From 1938 - John Hammond produces the 'From Spirituals to Swing' concert at Carnegie Hall (then again in 1939). This would be the first time race music and an integrated band would be presented on a major US Stage. Vanguard would eventually release a multi-LP collection and then a CD boxset with these recordings. Hammond intends to answer "Where did jazz come from" with his choice of styles and artists. Artists on the bill included: Count Basie (with Lips Page, Lester Young, Jo Jones and Walter Page) Helen Humes Kansas City Five, Six Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons Meade Lux Lewis/Albert Ammons/Pete Johnson/Walter Page/Jo Jones Joe Turner Sister Rosetta Tharpe New Orleans Feetwarmers Jimmy Rushing Benny Goodman Sextet (with Fletcher Henderson, Charlie Christian and Lionel Hampton) Ida Cox Sonny Terry Big Bill Broonzy

Disclaimer: Though we have checked our facts, this timeline may contain erroneous information. If you discover errors or omissions, please bring them to our attention.

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