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.
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.