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
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.