01 May

A century of Jazz in pictures Featured

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A  look at the jazz history through pictures and posters  

From its beginnings in the early 20th century jazz has spawned a variety of subgenres: New Orleans Dixieland dating from the early 1910s, big band-style swing from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, free jazz and a variety of Latin jazz fusions, such as Afro-Cuban, from the 1950s and 1960s, jazz fusion from the 1970s, acid jazz from the 1980s, and nu jazz in the 1990s.


Here is a quick look at the jazz history through pictures and posters



 - Dixieland Jazz Band - In 1917, under the leadership of Nick LaRocca ( trumperer), the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB) made the first jazz recording. This first and many to follow were instant sensational “Hits” that were inspirational and influential beyond imagination. The success of the ODJB recordings was immense and musicians worldwide changed instrumentation to emulate the sound and style they made famous. A 1918 promotional postcard showing , drummer Tony Sbarbaro (aka Tony Spargo), trombonist Edwin "Daddy" Edwards, cornetist Dominick James "Nick" LaRocca, clarinetist Larry Shields, and pianist Henry Ragas


-   King Oliver   Band - Joe "King" Oliver a jazz cornet player, was particularly noted for his playing style. Also a notable composer, he wrote many tunes still played regularly. He was the mentor and teacher of Louis Armstrong. His influence was such that Armstrong claimed, "if it had not been for Joe Oliver, jazz would not be what it is today". King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band was one of the best and most important bands in early Jazz. The Creole Jazz Band was made up of the cream of New Orleans Hot Jazz musicians



The Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s, the greatest singers of her era and, along with Louis Armstrong, had a major influence on subsequent jazz vocalists.


Al Jolson was to jazz, blues, and ragtime what Elvis Presley was to rock 'n' roll". Being the first popular singer to make a spectacular "event" out of singing a song. Although he's best remembered today as the star in the first (full length) talking movie, The Jazz Singer in 1927.



Jelly Roll Morton stands out as the first major jazz composer, blended blues and ragtime styles, a fusion that perhaps represented the origins of jazz music better than anything else. The recordings by Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers are regarded as classics of 1920s jazz.

Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers were one of the first acts booked on tours by MCA.


In 1929, for the hit Broadway show, "Hot Chocolates", Fats Waller and Razaf wrote "What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue" , which became a hit for Ethel Waters and Louis Armstrong. Waller influenced many pre-bop jazz pianists; Count Basie and Erroll Garner have both reanimated his hit songs (notably, "Ain't Misbehavin'"). In addition to his playing, Waller was known for his many quips during his performances.

Louis Armstrong
nicknamed Satchmo  was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the music's focus from collective improvisation to solo performance.With his instantly recognizable deep and distinctive gravelly voice, resembling the sound of a trumpet, Armstrong was also an influential singer, demonstrating great dexterity as an improviser, bending the lyrics and melody of a song for expressive purposes. He was also greatly skilled at scat singing. Renowned for his charismatic stage presence and voice almost as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong's influence extends well beyond jazz music, and by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a profound influence on popular music in general. Armstrong was one of the first truly popular African-American entertainers to "cross over," whose skin-color was secondary to his music in an America that was severely racially divided.



In 1929, Duke Ellington appeared in his first movie, a nineteen-minute all-African-American RKO short, Black and Tan, in which he played the hero "Duke". In the same year, the Cotton Club Orchestra appeared on stage for several months.

A major figure in the history of jazz, Duke Ellington's music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical. His career spanned more than 50 years and included leading his orchestra, composing an inexhaustible songbook, scoring for movies, composing stage musicals, and world tours. Several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards. Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and extraordinary charisma, he is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other traditional genres of music. His reputation increased after his death and the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed on him a special posthumous honor in 1999. Ellington called his music "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category." These included many of the musicians who were members of his orchestra, some of whom are considered among the best in jazz in their own right, but it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most well-known jazz orchestral units in the history of jazz. Ellington led his band from 1923 until his death in 1974 and he wrote over 1,000 compositions


Bennie Moten Orchestra
was the most important of the itinerant, blues-based orchestras active in the Midwest in the 1920s, and helped to develop the riffing style that would come to define many of the 1930s Big Bands.


Cab Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States' most popular African American big bands from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. He was strongly associated with the Cotton Club in Harlem where he was a regular performer.


Django Reinhardt
virtuoso jazz guitarist invented an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique that has since become a living musical tradition within French gypsy culture. The period between 1929 and 1933 were formative years for Reinhardt. He decisively abandoned the banjo-guitar in favour of the guitar. He was particularly impressed with Louis Armstrong, whom he called "my brother". Shortly afterwards he made the acquaintance of a young violinist with very similar musical interests–Stéphane Grappelli. Reinhardt's most popular compositions have become jazz standards.

In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman, widely known as the "King of Swing"   led one of the most popular musical groups in America. Goodman's bands launched the careers of many major names in jazz, and during an era of segregation, he also led one of the first now well known racially-integrated jazz groups.

Since 1934, the bible of   jazz, blues and great music beyond category. DownBeat magazine  collected the first important body of pre-1935 jazz history. It became a monthly, then semi-monthly, a diary of the swing era as it happened, then tracked the progression of bop, pop, rock, freedom, fusion, and nineties neoclassicism, all from the perspective of the musician. Well-known features of Down Beat magazine include its "Reviews" section where jazz critics, using a '1-Star to 5-Star' maximum rating system, rate the latest musical recordings, vintage recordings, and books; articles on individual musicians and music forms; and its famous "Blindfold Test" column, in a which a musician listens to records by other artists, tries to guess who they are, and rates them using the 5-star maximum rating system


In early 1938, the Savoy was the meeting ground for a "battle of the bands" with Chick Webb's group. Count Basie had Billie Holiday and Webb countered with Ella Fitzgerald. As Metronome magazine proclaimed, "Basie's Brilliant Band Conquers Chick's", then it went on in detail, "Throughout the fight, which never let down in its intensity during the whole fray, Chick took the aggressive, with the Count playing along easily and, on the whole, more musically scientifically. Undismayed by Chick's forceful drum beating, which sent the audience into shouts of encouragement and appreciation and casual beads of perspiration to drop from Chick's brow onto the brass cymbals, the Count maintained an attitude of poise and self-assurance. He constantly parried Chick's thundering haymakers with tantalizing runs and arpeggios which teased more and more force from his adversary". The publicity over the battle, before and after, gave the Basie band a big boost and they gained wider recognition, as evidenced by Benny Goodman's recording of One O'Clock Jump shortly thereafter.

The finest in jazz since 1939. Originally dedicated to recording traditional jazz and small group swing, from 1947 the label began to switch its attention to modern jazz. While the original company did not itself record many of the pioneers of bebop, significant exceptions are Thelonious Monk, Fats Navarro and Bud Powell. Historically, Blue Note has principally been associated with the "hard bop" style of jazz . Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Art Blakey, Lou Donaldson, Donald Byrd and Grant Green were among the label's leading artists.

Blue Note Records has produced a number of legendary albums. The label is revered by jazz fans throughout the world. Blue note's longstanding commitment to artistry is reflected in its many distinctive album covers.



After "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" garnered success,   Billie Holiday   began recording under her own name   producing a series of extraordinary performances with groups comprising the swing era's finest musicians.


1938, opening of the exhibition "Degenerate Music" in Düsseldorf presenting jazz as "Degenerate Art": The Nazi government's concern for degenerate music was a part of its larger and more well-known campaign against   'Entartete Kunst. Tthe government attempted to isolate, discredit, discourage, or ban the works.


In 1941 Duke Ellington and His Orchestra introduced “Take the ‘A’ Train,” a composition that was later to become their signature tune.

The Andrews Sisters were a singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. Their 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" can be considered an early example of rhythm and blues or jump blues.

Ella Fitzgerald is also known as the "First Lady of Song" "Queen of Jazz" and "Lady Ella".She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.Over the course of her 59-year recording career, she was the winner of 13 Grammy Awards


In the 1940s Dizzy  Gillespie, together with Charlie Parker, became a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.

Dizzy Gillespie's contributions to jazz were huge. Gillespie is remembered, by both critics and fans alike, as one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time. Arguably Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in jazz. His beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop.


Charlie Parker is widely considered one of the most influential jazz musicians of his time and a leading figure in the development of bebop.He acquired the nickname   "Bird", which continued to be used for the rest of his life, inspiring the titles of a number of Parker compositions, such as "Yardbird Suite", "Ornithology", "Bird Gets the Worm" and "Bird of Paradise." Parker was an icon for the hipster subculture and later, the Beat Generation, personifying the jazz musician as an uncompromising artist and intellectual, rather than an entertainer.


"Route 66" was first recorded in 1946 by Nat King Cole. and was subsequently covered by many artists including Chuck Berry in 1961, The Rolling Stones in 1964. Nat King Cole owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. He was one of the first black Americans to host a television variety show :The Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC-TV in 1956.


Sidney Bechet   was one of the first important soloists in jazz . Bechet relocated to France in 1950 after performing as a soloist at the Paris Jazz Fair. His performance at the fair resulted in a surge in his popularity in France. After that, Bechet had little problem finding well paid work in France. In 1953, he signed a recording contract with French Vogue, which lasted for the rest of his life. He recorded many hit tunes, including "Les Oignons," "Promenade aux Champ Elysees," and the international hit "Petite Fleur." Bechet's erratic temperament hampered his career, however, and not until the late 1940s did he earn wide acclaim.


Along with Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell was a key player in the history of bebop, and his virtuosity as a pianist led many to call him "the Charlie Parker of the piano".

Thelonious monk is considered one of the giants of American music. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire. Monk is the second most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed over 1,000 songs while Monk wrote about 70. He is one of five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of Time (the other four being Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Wynton Marsalis, and Dave Brubeck}

Because of his brilliant writing for mid-size ensembles - and his catering to and emphasizing the strengths of the musicians in his groups — Charles Mingus is often considered the heir of Duke Ellington, for whom he expressed great admiration. Indeed, Dizzy Gillespie had once claimed Mingus reminded him "of a young Duke", citing their shared "organizational genius. Nearly as well known as his ambitious music was Mingus' often fearsome temperament, which earned him the nickname "The Angry Man of Jazz." His refusal to compromise his musical integrity led to many on-stage eruptions, exhortations to musicians, and dismissals.

Bill Evans is considered by some to be the most influential post-World War II jazz pianist. Evans fused classical moods and harmonies with virtuosic improvisation, helping to expand the emotional palette of modern jazz. In the early 1960s, Evans was primarily devoted to creating a new approach to the piano trio. He   revolutionized the trio setting, abolishing the conventional hierarchy that designated the drums and bass roles. In Bill Evans’ trio, each member was on an equal level, and the resulting performance technique is a collective improvisation.



West Coast jazz refers to various styles of jazz music that developed around Los Angeles and San Francisco during the 1950s. West Coast jazz is often seen as a sub-genre of cool jazz, which featured a less frenetic, calmer style than bebop or hard bopSome of the major pioneers of West Coast jazz were Shorty Rogers, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Bud Shank, Bob Cooper, Jimmy Giuffre, Shelly Manne, Russ Freeman, Bill Holman, André Previn, and Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond. Mulligan's pianoless quartet of the early 1950s with trumpeter Chet Baker is still regarded as one of the more important cool jazz groups.

"I Loves You Porgy" became a smash hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career, Nina Simone recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958 – when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue – and 1974. Simone's music was highly influential in the fight for equal rights in the US.



In 1957, Eugene Smith, a   photographer, walked out of his comfortable settled world–his longtime well-paying job at Life and the home he shared with his wife and four children in Croton-on-Hudson, New York–to move into a dilapidated, five-story loft building at 821 Sixth Avenue in New York City’s wholesale flower district. Smith was trying to complete the most ambitious project of his life, a massive photo-essay on the city of Pittsburgh. 821 Sixth Avenue became   a late-night haunt of musicians, including some of the biggest names in jazz–Charles Mingus, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, and Thelonious Monk among them–and countless fascinating, underground characters.  


Dave Brubeck
has written a number of jazz standards. His long-time musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, wrote the Dave Brubeck Quartet's best remembered piece, "Take Five", which is in 5/4 time and has endured as a jazz classic on the top-selling jazz album, Time Out.



Along with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, Art Blakey was one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming. For more than 30 years his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz. Blakey was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame (in 1982), the Grammy Hall of Fame (in 2001), and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.


Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, and jazz fusion. Kind of Blue (released August 17, 1959), has been regarded by many critics as the greatest jazz album of all time and Miles Davis's masterpiece. The album's influence on music, including jazz, rock, and classical music, has led music writers to acknowledge it as one of the most influential albums ever made.



Ornette Coleman   was one of the major innovators of the free jazz movement of the 1960s. Coleman's timbre is easily recognized: his keening, crying sound draws heavily on blues music.


John Coltrane
worked in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career. As his career progressed, Coltrane and his music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. He influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. Love supreme album was released in 1964. It is generally considered to be among Coltrane's greatest works, as it melded the hard bop sensibilities of his early career with the free jazz style he adopted later.

Aretha Franklin is referred to as the Queen of Soul. She has won 18 competitive Grammys and two honorary Grammys.

Her first album was released in January 1961. The label had her record mainly jazz-influenced pop music, hoping for success with this format as the label had with Billie Holiday. Columbia did not really understand Franklin's background in gospel and failed to bring that aspect out in her secular recordings. In 1972, she released her first gospel album with Amazing Grace. The album eventually became her biggest-selling release ever, selling over two million copies and becoming the best-selling gospel album of all time.


Wayne Shorter is one of the   greatest living composer and many of his compositions have become standards. Shorter's output has earned worldwide recognition, critical praise and various commendations, including multiple Grammy Awards. Shorter first came to wide prominence in the late 1950s as a member of, and eventually primary composer for, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. In the 1960s, he went on to join Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet, and from there he co-founded   Weather Report band.   Weather Report was an influential jazz fusion band of the 1970s   and 1980s, one of the bands that defined the genre. Their initial style was collectively improvised free jazz with a strong rhythmic pulse and latin influences.


Chick Corea's Return to Forever
emerged as one of the key jazz-rock fusion bands of the 1970s. Like Weather Report and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, they were formed by an alumnus of Miles Davis' late-'60s bands with the intention of furthering the jazz-rock hybrid Davis had explored on albums like Bitches Brew. At the time, this was seen as a means of creativity, a new direction for jazz, and as a way of attracting the kinds of large audiences enjoyed by rock musicians. Return to Forever started out as more of a Latin-tinged jazz ensemble, but Corea, influenced by the Mahavishnu Orchestra of John McLaughlin and some of the progressive rock bands coming out of Great Britain, notably Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, moved the group more toward rock, achieving considerable commercial success. A later re-orientation of the band gave it more of a big-band style before Corea folded the unit, retaining the Return to Forever name for occasional tours and other projects.

As part of Miles Davis's "second great quintet," Herbie Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound. He was one of the first jazz musicians to embrace music synthesizers and funk music. Hancock's music embraces elements of funk and soul while adopting freer stylistic elements from jazz. Hancock's best-known solo works include "Cantaloupe Island", "Watermelon Man" His 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters won the 2008 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, only the second jazz album ever to win the award after Getz/Gilberto in 1965.

Keith Jarrett
is recognized as one of the most creative musicians of our times - universally acclaimed as an improviser of unsurpassed genius; a master of jazz piano; a classical keyboardist of great depth; and as a composer who has written hundreds of pieces for his various jazz groups, plus extended works for orchestra, soloist, and chamber ensemble.

Jarrett started his career with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, moving on to play with Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis. Since the early 1970s he has enjoyed a great deal of success in jazz, jazz fusion, and classical music; as a group leader and a solo performer. His improvisations draw not only from the traditions of jazz, but from other genres as well, especially Western classical music, gospel, blues, and ethnic folk music.

Keith Jarrett's main context for playing jazz has been his trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, which in 2003 celebrates its 20th Anniversary together. The trio first played together in 1977, when Jarrett and DeJohnette played on Peacock's first ECM Records recording. The original 1983 trio session in New York produced the trio's first three ECM releases: Standards Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and Changes.

Wynton Marsalis   became the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical records, and he is the only artist to win Grammy Awards for five consecutive years (1983—1987). Trumpeter, composer, bandleader, music educator, and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, United States. However, Several jazz notables have unfavorable views of Marsalis' musicianship.


Last modified on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 09:17
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