Jazz - Then and Now (Chapter 8, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 8

Chicago eventually became the main residence of jazz musicians. They came from New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis and Oklahoma City. Jazz was not new to Chicago. Before 1917, Jelly Roll Morton, Tony Jackson, Freddie Keppard, Bill Johnson, Joe "King" Oliver and Edward "Kid" Ory had all played in Chicago.

Since Chicago was acquainted with jazz, the main purpose for the musicians to settle there was to help spread jazz throughout the city. When "King" Oliver left New Orleans in 1918, he headed straight for Chicago, leaving an eighteen-year old trumpet player named Louis Armstrong to take over leadership of Oliver's band.

When Oliver arrived in Chicago, he immediately found work playing trumpet with the New Orleans Jazz Band and then with the Original Creole Band. In 1920, "King" Oliver replaced Bill Johnson as the leader of the Original Creole Band.

Oliver toured the West Coast with the band, and stayed in California for about a year, working all the clubs in that state. Finally, in 1922, he headed back to Chicago and played at the Lincoln Gardens.

In 1923, Oliver called Louis Armstrong and persuaded him to leave New Orleans and join his new Creole Jazz Band. Armstrong gladly accepted the offer and in July 1923, Armstrong was in Chicago.

Joe "King" Oliver's Creole Jazz Band included some fine musicians. There was "King" Oliver and Louis Armstrong on trumpets, Honore Dutrey on trombone, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Baby Dodds on drums, Bill Johnson on banjo and Lil Hardin on piano.

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