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History of Jazz Timeline: 1937

Armstrong is still going strong and is still doing Pop songs. See Classics CD Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra 1937-1938.
Charlie Parker joins piano player Jay McShann's band in Kansas City. Parker will play in this band on and off until 1941.
Charlie spends the summer playing a grueling schedule at an Ozark Mountain resort. His playing improves considerably. He acquires the nickname Yardbird at this time. This, as we all know, will later become simply Bird.
Duke Ellington band records the classic Caravan.
Pittsburgh drum innovator Kenny Clarke moves the ground beat from the Bass/Hi-hat combination (previously innovated by Walter Johnson and Jo Jones) to the large ride cymbal. This moves the ground beat completely away from the bass drum and makes faster Bop-type rhythms possible. Clarke found that he could get pitch and timbre variations and produce an airy sound. He also was then free to use the bass drum in a new manner, to "drop bombs". He said that he simply got tired of playing like Jo Jones, but this was an important innovation in the development of modern Jazz (maybe as important as later innovations by Parker and Gillespie).
Piano innovator and genius Thelonious Monk begins to scuffle for work.
Roy Eldridge's playing is still showing the Armstrong/Red Allen influence. However, by now, the Coleman Hawkins influences are more dominant in his trumpet playing.
Dizzy Gillespie takes Roy Eldridge's place in the Teddy Hill band at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.
Billie Holiday joins the Count Basie band but does not record with them because of contract issues. Billie and Bill do not get along well.
Django Reinhardt records Ellington's Solitude. Django also records Runnin' Wild and Swing.
Basie trombone player Dickie Wells goes to Europe with the Teddy Hill band.
Clarinetist Edmund Hall leaves the big band of Lucky Millinder to become an anomaly, a black Dixieland player. This is curious, because even though he was from the original New Orleans school and even though he made this move, he apparently did not like Dixieland music (which isn't curious ).
Trumpeter Billy Butterfield joins Bob Crosby's Bobcats (a Dixieland style big band).
Trumpeter Bunny Berigan is with Tommy Dorsey.
By now, "Swing is King". There are dozens of Swing bands . The boom is really on. There are two different streams feeding the river. One is the Henderson/Goldkette stream using interesting scores and precise playing and the other is the Southwest school which emphasizes riffs and solos.
Jelly Roll Morton is rediscovered by Alan Lomax. The famous Library of Congress recordings result. The Dixieland movement begins.
Bessie Smith dies in a car accident in Clarksdale, Mississippi on September 26. The old is dying in Jazz and the new is coming on strong.
Mahalia Jackson cuts her first record.
Bassist Leroy "Slam" Stewart meets guitarist Bulee "Slim" Gaillard. They will form the popular duo "Slim and Slam".
Archie Shepp (future Free Jazz giant) is born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He will grow up in Philadelphia, Pa.
Trumpeter Joe Smith dies in New York at the young age of 35.
At age twelve, Art Pepper receives an alto saxophone for Christmas.

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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.