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History of Jazz Timeline: 1950

Bop is in command, Dixieland revival is in full bloom, Cool is up and coming and the Swing players are bewildered.
Trad is as big in Europe as Bop is in the U.S.
Drugs run rampant in Bop.
The West Coast School (also called Cool and sometimes called Bopsieland) produces some big hits such as the Chet Baker/Gerry Mulligan rendition of My Funny Valentine.
Colleges and Universities across the U.S. have Dixieland bands. The craze is big now.
Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm group records a big hit called Rocket 88 which many believe is the first true Rock and Roll record. Rocket 88 was written and sung by Jackie Brenston.
By this time, it is possible for a Jazz star to get rich without compromising. A competent Jazz musician can make a good living without compromise. Audiences are finally somewhat indifferent to a mixed black and white band.
Barney Josephson (Owner of Cafe' Society) is forced out of business by the right-wing politics of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Charlie Parker becomes the first modern Jazz soloist to perform with strings and woodwinds in a symphony style group.
Parker is well represented on the album Bird at the Roost - Vol 3. Fats Navarro is present on this one.
While still married, Parker hooks up with a woman named Chan Richardson.
Dizzy Gillespie is at his peak.
Dizzy Gillespie reduces his working big band to a sextet. Coltrane stays on with the group, playing both alto and tenor saxophone.
Tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins records with Fats Navarro and Bud Powell.
Fats Navarro dies of drug-connected tuberculosis. He is only twenty-six.
Bud Powell records some memorable Tatum specialties like Tea for Two, Yesterdays and April in Paris.
Clifford Brown is almost killed in an automobile accident. Dizzy visits him in the hospital during his year long recovery and urges Clifford to move forward with his career as a trumpeter.
Billie Holiday breaks off with John Levy, the third drug addict she has dated. The first was Jimmy Monroe, then Joe Guy and now John Levy. Levy proved to be perhaps the worst. Once, he framed her to save himself from a drug bust, but she returned for more abuse anyway. At this point, she has little to show for all her work. Her voice is going and so is her health.
Art Tatum is back as a major Jazz figure.
Pianist John Lewis is a thoroughly schooled musician after the army and the Manhattan School of Music. He is very prominent in the Cool movement.
Stan Getz hires Horace Silver to play piano in his quartet.
After the incident in New Orleans, Ornette Coleman joins the Pee Wee Crayton band. Pee Wee who is from Fort Worth takes the band, including Ornette Coleman, to L.A. When they get there, he fires Ornette. Ornette stays there.
Pianist Cecil Taylor is gigging around New York City.
Pianist Andrew Hill (age 6) learns his first blues changes for piano from Pat Patrick.
Ellington band tours Europe. Paul Gonsalves joins the Duke on tenor sax.
The Del Campo band is playing Jazz numbers with a rolling rhumba rhythm that attracts large dance audiences. Del Campo is inclined to turn the band loose and then dance with the ladies. He very dramatically dies on the dance floor while doing this very thing. The cause is a bad heart.
New Orleans clarinetist Edmond Hall is currently playing Dixieland (not his favorite) at Eddie Condon's.
George Shearing develops commercial success but becomes very commercial in the process.
Singer Bobby McFerrin is born.
Crazy Leo Watson dies in Los Angeles on May 2.
Future mega Pop star Stevie Wonder is born as Stevie Morris in Detroit.

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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.