Jazz - Then and Now (Chapter 8, page 2 of 9)


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Chapter 8

The Creole Jazz Band had a permanent engagement at the Lincoln Gardens, a spacious building providing a dance floor for over six hundred people. Oliver was a self-taught musician who played loud and fast as he was accustomed to when he was in New Orleans, because that was the type of music the black community wanted to hear. But in Chicago, the audiences were mostly white, and Oliver, always aiming to please his audiences, refined his trumpet playing with the other members of the band doing the same on their instruments.

In 1923, the Creole Jazz Band began to make records. With the records getting nationwide distribution, their recording success was an incentive for other bands to follow.

The same year, an all-white band from Chicago, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, began recording. Jelly Roll Morton also made his first record that year.

In 1924, Louis Armstrong left the Creole Jazz Band for the Fletcher Henderson Band. Oliver continued making recordings in 1926-1927, with his new group, the Savannah Syncopaters. Unfortunately, Joe "King" Oliver's career came to an early end when he lost all his teeth. Being unable to play, he had no way to earn a living. Oliver was so embarrassed and ashamed of his appearance that he went into seclusion and remained there until his death in 1938.

Louis Armstrong (1900-1971), was born in New Orleans on July 4, 1900. Armstrong knew the meaning of poverty. His family was probably of the poorest in the black population. As a young boy, he worked for pennies a day, selling coal and working on the docks loading and unloading boats.

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