Musicians from the 1920's and 1930's

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Musicians from the 1920's and 1930's

Jelly Roll Morton(1885-1941)Jelly Roll Morton was a pianist with his own unique style. After trying out multiple instruments (including drums, harmonica and guitar) he settled on piano. He played ragtime-blues jazz but combined it with latin rhythms. When starting out in his career he took on odd jobs until he formed his own band, Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers. He then went on and recored 57 songs with his band until it disbanded. Some of his famous songs were "Dead Man Blues" and "Black Bottom Stomp".

Count Basie(1904-1984)Count Basie started playing the piano as a young boy, a great expense to his poor parents. After mastering piano he began began learning the fine art of swing. He started by playng with two hands and then using breif bouts of his right hand to bring in the audience. Count Basie recorded three famous songs, "Doggin' Around", "Taxi War Dance", and "Lester Leaps In".

Joe "King" Oliver(1885-1938)Joe "King" Oliver played a style of music called Dixieland, which originated in the New Orleans. At age 14 he was urged to join a brass band. In the early 1900s he played in multiple bands, one of them, his own, the Creole Jazz Band. He eventually filled out the band with Louis Armstrong. One of his famous songs is the "Dippermouth Blues".

Robert Johnson(1912?-1938)Robert Johnson sang a style of music called country blues. Branching off of African American work songs, it is an unformal improvised form of music in which the singer mingles with the audience. As a young boy he loved music and learned to play the blues harp (harmonica). He disappeared for a while and came back with his own guitar and unique style of playing it, it was a complete mystery. Johnson recorded 29 songs before his death at a young age. "Hellhound On My Trail" was a good example of his style.

Scott Joplin(1868-1917)Although Joplin did not play jazz, the new kind of music in the 1920s, he played ragtime music which is regarded as a contributing factor to the development of jazz. Ragtime music had its roots in African American songs but was also closely tied to Western Europe. Scott Joplin started playing the piano at a young age and began composing in his early 20s, traveling the US and Europe to play his compositions. While well known for his rags Joplin also composed waltzs, ballads, marches, and cakewalks. His most famous songs were the "Maple Leaf Rag", "Augustine Club Waltz", "A Picture Of Her Face", and Easy Winners.

Bessie Smith(1894?-1937)Bessie Smith was well known for her style in singing city blues, which, unlike country blues, orginated in minstral shows and were accompained. Bessie Smith started singing at a very young age and in the 1920s began recording her first songs on the phonograph. One of her best friends was Ma Rainey another influential musician of the time period. Two of her best songs are "Down-Hearted Blues", and "Gulf Coast Blues".

Duke Ellington(1899-1974)Duke Ellington played a key role in the evolution of jazz. He was well known for his polished appearance and style. Ellington began performing professionaly at the age of 17. He then turned to composign scores for motion pictures. Ellington won 11 Grammy Awards, his more famous songs were "Creole Rhapsody" and "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing).

George Gershwin(1898-1937)George Gershwin was loved by many and his early death was a huge loss to the American society. He began playign piano at age 12 and sold his first song in 1916. Gershwin then turned to composing Braodway scores. His materpiece was "Porgy and Bess". Gershwin also composed film scores with his brother Ira. His Famous works were "Crazy For You" and "Rhapsody In Blue".

Louis Armstrong(1901-1971)Louis Armstrong was a famous jazz trumpeter who taught the world to swing, his nickname was Satchmo. In 1930 he produced the first of his 30 films in Hollywood. Satchmo was a huge supporter of cilvil rights. One of his best works "Hello, Dolly!" won a Grammy Award. Several of his later masterpieces were "Blueberry Hill" and "What A Wonderful World".

"Ma" Gertrude Rainey(1886-1939)Ma Rainey was Known as the "Mother Of Blues". She had an amazing stage presence and vocal talent. Ma Rainey mostly sang in minstel shows but eventually had her own show in 1916. A few of her famous songs are "SeeSee Rider Blues", "Bo-Weavil Blues", and "Moonshine Blues".

Musicians From The 1920's And 1930's

Around the turn of the century a new style of music began to emerge, jazz. Jazz got its roots from Africa, although New Orleans are considered the birthplace of jazz. A combination of african instruments and fiddle songs from the British Isles created ragtime which developed into jazz. In the 1920's and 1930's the Harlem Renaissance, also known as the New Negro Renaissance, began with the Great Migration. the Harlem Renaissance was an influential, artistic movement and the purpose was to change the African-American's role. Jazz must have rhythm, melody and harmony. A common jazz band would have saxophones, trumpets and clarinets, with a rhythm section composed of a piano, bass and a drum set.


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