History of Jazz – 1900 – 1909

Jazz – Timeline: 1900 – 1909


Developments in Jazz   

Historical Events

  • A cutting contest (a colloquial term for music competition) for ragtime pianists is held at New York’s Tammany Hall
  • July 4, 1900 (see August 4, 1901) is the day that Louis Armstrong always claims as his birthday. Armstrong’s nickname will be Satchmo. He will receive this nickname in England in the early 1930’s when the British hear his original nickname, Satchelmouth, incorrectly. Armstrong will be recognized as the first genius of Jazz because the entire concept of swinging will be attributed to him.
  • Blues become a standard feature of honky tonks and dancehalls. Horn players imitate the human voice with mutes and growls.
  • New Orleans players are playing a mix of Blues, Ragtime, brass band music, marches, Pop songs and dances. The Jazz stew is brewing. Some musicians are beginning to improvise the Pop songs.
  • Jelly Roll Morton is a youth working the „high class sporting houses“ or more bluntly, brothels, as a Ragtime piano player. His wages come from tips from wealthy patrons.
  • Trombonist James Henry „Jimmy“ Harrison is born in Louisville, KY on October 17. Harrison will invent an important style of Swing trombone.
  • Trumpeter Tommy Ladnier is born in Mandeville, LA on May 28. Ladnier will become one of the important early Jazz trumpeters.
  • The end of the Spanish-American war has brought a surplus of used military band instruments into the port of New Orleans.
  • Hawaii becomes official U.S. territory.
  • First electric bus runs in New York City
  • Migrations from the south into Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, etc. are beginning.
  • Charles Booth’s performance of J. Bodewalt Lange’s Creole Blues is recorded for the new Victor label. This is the first acoustic recording of ragtime to be made commercially available.
  • The American Federation of Musicians (the musicians union) votes to suppress ragtime.
  • Daniel Louis Armstrong is born on August 4 in New Orleans.
  • New Orleans clarinet player Edmund Hall is born on May 15. Hall was one of the few New Orleans players to become a Dixieland player in the 1940’s and beyond.
  • Multi-instrumentalist Frank Trumbauer is born in Carbondale, Illinois. Trumbauer is a descendent of Charles Dickens. Trumbauer’s primary instrument will be the saxophone.
  • U.S. President William McKinley is assassinated.
  • Painter Pablo Picasso’s first exhibit is held in Paris.
  • Theodore Roosevelt becomes president
  • The John Philip Sousa Band records the ragtime piece, Trombone Sneeze, written by Arthur Pryor.
  • Lincoln Park is opened in New Orleans as a center for ragtime and early jazz performances.
  • Scott Joplin publishes The Entertainer: a Ragtime Two-Step, which would become a popular hit nearly 70 years later.
  • Jelly Roll Morton is now seventeen years old. He is beginning to attract attention in the New Orleans area as a brothel piano player. At this point he is playing primarily Ragtime and a little Blues. He is one of the first to play this mix that is a forerunner of Jazz. Jelly Roll will later claim to have invented Jazz in this year by combining Ragtime, Quadrilles and Blues.
  • W.C. Handy has started a saxophone quartet. The saxophone was a novelty in 1902.
  • Trumpeter Joe Smith is born in Ripley, Ohio on June 28. Joe will become Bessie Smith’s favorite accompanist.
  • Clarinetist Buster Bailey is born in Memphis. Buster will be raised on the music of W.C. Handy.
  • The Electric Theatre, the first movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles, California.
  • Cuba gains independence from the United States
  • The phonograph has been drastically improved. Victor and Columbia emerge as leaders in the phonograph field (at that time phonograph companies made records and vice versa). People have finally started to buy phonographs and records (cylinders) for home use. This will enable the rapid spread of popular music.
  • Pianist and composer Eubie Blake publishes his first piano rags
  • The Wright brothers make their first successful flight
  • Cornetist Buddy Bolden begins to develop a reputation in New Orleans for playing music that fuses elements of blues and ragtime.
  • Tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins is born
  • The third Modern Olympic Games opens in St. Louis, Missouri as part of the World’s Fair.
  • The ice cream cone is created.
  • The first underground line of the New York City Subway opens.
  • The first New Year’s Eve celebration is held in New York City’s Times Square
  • A black newspaper in Indianapolis releases a statement in reaction to racist songs popular during this period: „Composers should not set music to a set of words that are a direct insult to the colored race.“
  • Scientist Albert Einstein presents his special theory of relativity.
  • Pizza is introduced at Lombardi’s in New York
  • Jelly Roll Morton composes King Porter Stomp
  • Cornetist Buddy Bolden is committed to a mental institution without having ever recorded any music.
  • Scott Joplin moves to New York
  • The first wireless broadcast of classical music is produced in New York
  • Alcohol is banned in North Carolina and Georgia
  • The U.S. Marine band records Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag.
  • The popularity of ragtime continues to grow among Blacks and white resulting in increased public interaction between the races
  • Alcohol is banned in Tennessee.
  • Robert Peary reaches the North Pole.
  • William Howard Taft becomes president