History of Jazz Timeline: 1923
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band with Louis Armstrong on second cornet makes their first recordings. Armstrong is first recorded on March 31 on the Gennet recording of Chimes Blues. Other members of the band were Warren "Baby" Dodds on drums, Honore Dutrey on trombone, Bill Johnson on bass, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, and Lil Hardin on piano. The most notable recording was the legendary Dippermouth Blues which was written by Oliver.
Jelly Roll Morton moves to Chicago. By now, Jelly is more interested in his music than he is in pimping and conning. Morton will record his first piano solos during this year. The list of songs includes Grandpa's Spells, Kansas City Stomps, Milenburg Joys, Wolverine Blues and The Pearls. Morton is at the frontline of Jazz with Bechet and Oliver at this point.
Early occurance of the "color barrier" being broken when Jelly Roll Morton sits in with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.
In late January, Duke Ellington pays his way into the segregated section of the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. to hear soprano saxophone master Sidney Bechet. This is Ellington's first encounter with authentic New Orleans Jazz.
Duke Ellington returns to New York City after being persuaded by Fats Waller. His first stay had been a disaster. He works for Ada "Bricktop" Smith. His first job is at the Hollywood Club (later the Kentucky Club). He also works at Barron's in Harlem. The Duke finally becomes the official band leader. Snowden, the original band leader, leaves and is replaced by Fred Guy.
Ellington makes his first recording (on a cylinder - acoustic recording still most used). It is a stride piano piece called Jig Walk.
On June 30, Sidney Bechet cuts his first two sides "Wild Cat Blues" and "Kansas City Blues" with Clarence Williams' Blue Five.
Tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins joins the Fletcher Henderson band. It is with this band that Coleman will develop his first reasonable tenor sax style. This style will be based on the trumpet style of Louis Armstrong.
The Fletcher Henderson band opens at the Club Alabam on 44th Street just off Broadway with Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax.
By now, Bix Beiderbecke is occasionally playing on the riverboats.
Benny Moten Band cuts their first records. These records are marred by some obnoxious clarinet effects by Herman "Woody" Walder.
Bessie Smith records "Downhearted Blues" and "Gulf Coast Blues." "Downhearted Blues" sells 780,000 copies in less than six months. Bessie is an instant star. Bessie marries Jack Gee, a Philadelphia policeman, who is primarily interested in her money.
Gertrude "Ma Rainey" Pridgett is recorded for the first time this year.
The Lois Deppe band with Earl Hines on piano cuts a few records. Hines winds up in Chicago as a result of the popularity gained. He plays as a single using a portable piano in a cafe. At this time, the combination Stride/Blues piano style which Hines pioneered was already well formed. Hines will become the most influential early pianist in Jazz.
Future Bop trumpeter extraordinare Fats Navarro is born in Key West, Florida.
Hard Bop pianist Elmo Hope is born.
Vibraphonist Milt Jackson born 1923 in Detroit, Michigan.
March 12, 1923: Gennett begins to record the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. They would
release the soon to be jazz standards, "Tin Roof Blues," "Bugle Call
Blues," and "Farewell Blues." Members of NORK include Paul Mares,
coronet, George Brunies, trombone, Leon Rappolo, clarinet, Mel
Stitzel, piano, & Ben Pollock, banjo
April 6, 1923 - Gennett records and releases King Oliver's Creole
Jazz Band. This would be the first recordings to feature Louis
Armstrong and the incredible two coronet leads. Recordings from this
session include "Canal Street Blues,' "Chimes Blues," "Weather Bird
Rag," "Dippermouth Blues," "Froggie More," "Just Gone" and a few
others. Member of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band include: King
Oliver & Louis Armstrong on coronet, Honore Dutrey on trombone,
Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano, Bill Johnson
on piano and Baby Dodds on drums.
June 1923 - Jelly Roll Morton begins to record with Gennett,
including a session with New Orleans Rhythm Kings ("Mr. Jelly Lord"),
often considered the first inter-racial jazz recording.
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.